February 4, 2023 6:18 pm

Japan, India hold security talks amid major Russian drills

TOKYO — Japan and India are holding security talks Thursday between their foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo, seeking to further strengthen their military ties amid growing tension from China and Russia in the region.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada met with Indian counterpart Rajnat Singh before they join foreign ministers Yoshimasa Hayashi and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the security talks later in the day. Japan and India held their first “2+2” security talks in 2019.

The meeting comes at a sensitive time when Russia is holding a major multinational military exercise in its far east, with China and India participating.

Tokyo has protested to Moscow about it including Russian-held disputed islands over which Japan claims sovereignty. Japan also raised “grave concern” about naval shooting drills jointly held by Russia and China off Japan’s northern coast over the weekend.

Foreign Ministry officials said Japan has warned India Propet Shoes against joining drills set on the disputed islands and that the Indian troops were participating only in ground exercises in other areas.

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said Wednesday that Japan wants to step up joint military drills and cooperation in development and transfer of military equipment and technology with India.

Japan hopes to expand military equipment transfers to back up its feeble defense industry as the country tries to bolster its military capability and spending as deterrence to growing threats from China, Russia and North Korea.

Japan and India are discussing joint development of unmanned ground vehicle technology, Japanese officials said. Japan’s earlier plan to sell sea-landing planes to India has been held up, partly by the costs.

Japan also wants to reaffirm India’s support in promoting a “free and open Indo-Pacific vision” that Japan promotes with the United States as part of the Quad framework that also includes Australia as a counter to China’s assertiveness in the region.

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