India and Japan held the fourth round of Maritime Affairs Dialogue in New Delhi on July 19, 2018. During the dialogue, key issues related to the Indo-Pacific region and maritime security were discussed.
The Indian delegation at the dialogue was led by Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) in the External Affairs Ministry, while the Japanese side was led by Ambassador Kansuke Nagaoka, Policy Planning and International Security Policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The dialogue meet provided a platform to India and Japan to exchange views on various topics of mutual interest including:
- The Indo-Pacific region
- Maritime security
- Cooperation in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
The two sides also discussed ways and means of further strengthening the bilateral cooperation in these areas.
• India and Japan, both are maritime countries which are highly dependent upon overseas resources and trade for sustainable economies.
• Regarding security challenges, the national security of both countries is closely connected with maritime commons.
• In the post-Cold War period, a bilateral agreement between both countries was arranged to enhance regional and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.
• The naval forces of both the nations conducted joint bilateral naval exercise called Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) in 2012. Japan also joined the India-US Malabar maritime exercise, as a fresh start for trilateral maritime talks.
• Currently, the regional security environment is witnessing a great change due to the rise of China as a dominant power. The situation in South China Sea (SCS) and East China Sea (ECS) demands a greater cooperation to thwart Chinese assertiveness in the region.
• India and Japan, both have expressed concern over the growing insecurity in the region.
• For India, the waterway is an important sea-lane for its trade and commerce. India’s nearly 55 percent trade passes through the region.
• India’s economic and political relationship with ASEAN countries, Japan and South Korea is also tied-up with geopolitics the region.
• Hence, the new emphasis on the bilateral maritime cooperation is intended to strengthen naval capabilities to deter a potential aggressor.
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