India Japan Defence Cooperation – JIMEX and Logistics Pact
The 4th edition of India – Japan Maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX, which is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was held in North Arabian Sea from 26 to 28 September 2020 as per the Ministry of Defence.
Indigenously built stealth destroyer Chennai, Teg Class stealth frigate Tarkash and Fleet Tanker Deepak, under the command of Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, will represent the Indian Navy.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will be represented by JMSDF Ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and Ikazuchi, a Guided Missile Destroyer, led by Rear Admiral Konno Yasushige, Commander Escort Flotilla – 2 (CCF – 2).
In addition to ships, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and fighter aircraft will also participate in the exercise. JIMEX 20 will further enhance the cooperation and mutual confidence between the two navies and fortify the long standing bond of friendship between the two countries.
Background of JIMEX
JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.
Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years. Advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both Governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.
JIMEX 20 will showcase high degree of inter-operability and joint operational skills through conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the spectrum of maritime operations. Multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills will consolidate coordination developed by the two navies. JIMEX 20 will be spread over three days and is being conducted in a ‘non-contact at-sea-only format’, in view of COVID-19 restrictions.
India and Japan signed an Agreement between the two countries concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Armed Forces of India and The Self-Defense Forces of Japan. The agreement was signed by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and Ambassador of Japan Mr Suzuki Satoshi.
This agreement establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the Armed Forces of India and Japan in reciprocal provision of supplies and services while engaged in bilateral training activities, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian International Relief and other mutually agreed activities.
The agreement will also enhance the interoperability between the Armed Force of India and Japan thereby further increasing the bilateral defence engagements under the Special Strategic & Global Partnership between the two countries.
Army to Army Cooperation
Indian Army chief MM Naravane and Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), Chief of Staff General, GoroYuasa, had a telephonic discussion during which they agreed to advance defence cooperation and exchanges between the two countries to realise a free and open India -Pacific region.
“General Yuasa, the Chief of Staff, #JGSDF held a discussion with General MM Naravane, the Chief of the Army Staff, #IndianArmy (IA) over the phone on September 14th. Both generals agreed to advance JGSDF-IA defense cooperation/exchanges to realize a “Free and Open IndoPacific”,” the JGSDF tweeted.
Growing India and Japan defence cooperation comes against the backdrop of increasing tensions with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While not directly aimed at forming an anti-China front, the military to military cooperation and logistics pact will greatly enhance understanding of drills and procedures and enhance interoperability.