(Left to right) India's External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada pose before their meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo on September 8, 2022. (RODRIGO REYES MARIN / POOL / AFP)
India and Japan said on Thursday they would deepen defense cooperation, with New Delhi inviting investment by Japanese industries and both countries planning a joint military drill involving their air force fighters.
India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh held talks in Tokyo with Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada ahead of "two-plus-two" talks between defense and foreign ministers from the two countries.
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The two ministers agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for much greater cooperation and interoperability between the air forces of the two countries.
Ministry of Defense, India
“He invited Japanese industries to invest in India's defense corridors," India's defense ministry said in a statement, referring to Singh.
"The two ministers agreed that the early conduct of the inaugural fighter exercise will pave the way for much greater cooperation and interoperability between the air forces of the two countries."
India, like Japan, is bolstering its military to tackle what it sees as increased security threats.
In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised a "substantial" defense spending increase. His ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to double Japan's military budget to 2 percent of gross domestic product over the next five years.
Delhi, which last week commissioned its first home-built aircraft carrier, is expanding its security ties with Tokyo.
At the outset of the two-plus-two meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi underscored the growing importance of the ties between the two countries as the international community faces various challenges.
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Japan and India, along with Australia and the United States, are members of the Quad group of nations and hold annual naval exercises across the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate interoperability.
Kishida and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a separate bilateral meeting agreed to work closely together to promote a "free and open Indo-Pacific”.