India, Japan agree to maritime co-operation

India and Japan have resolved to expand their maritime cooperation and work together to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

This was stated in a joint press statement issued after the Annual Defence Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Defence Minister of Japan  Itsunori Onodera.

The two Ministers recognised that the peace and stability of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are crucial for ensuring the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.

Both sides also exchanged views on the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including developments in the Korean Peninsula.

They recognised that it is important for the two countries to further strengthen defence and security cooperation under the Japan-lndia Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

The two sides also reaffirmed that they have shared interests in expanding cooperation in the maritime security domain. Japan’s Itsunori Onodera and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman discussed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, or ACSA.

The deal would allow the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and India’s military to provide each other with supplies, such as fuel, transportation and other services.

China’s increasing maritime activities lie behind the talks.

Onodera said he wants to bring their partnership to a higher level to ensure freedom of navigation and rule of law.

Prior to the meeting, Onodera met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stressed the importance of Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.”

Onodera later told reporters that the strategy is a value all of Asia can share. He said Japan wants to talk about the idea with the US and Australia as well.

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