India & Japan to Strengthen Defence Cooperation
India and Japan has decided to strengthen their military cooperation and hopes to pursue a strategic partnership for ensuring regional peace and stability. The visit of Defence minister Arun Jaitley to Tokyo comes at the backdrop of rising tension in the region such as territorial rows over the South China Sea and nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The purpose of visit of Arun Jaitley to Tokyo was to attend an annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank. India and Japan have been increasing their defence cooperation amid China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.
India has welcomed the conduct of a planned trilateral naval exercise among the US, India and Japan in July as a means to strengthen cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. The Malabar trilateral exercise between Japan, the U.S. and India are slated to be held in the Bay of Bengal from July 10. Japan would send its helicopter carrier Izumo which is its largest warship to take part in the exercise.
The Malabar series of exercise was initiated by the U.S. and India in 1992. Japan joined the exercise in 2007. However, only since 2014, Japan has started to take part in every year’s exercise. Recently, it was agreed that Japan will become a regular Malabar member.