Indo Pacific Emerges as Key to India Japan Strategic Partnership
The first 2 + 2 ministerial meeting between India and Japan led by Defence Minister of India, Mr. Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar and Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, and Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr. KONO Taro, on 30 November 2019 emphasised the Indo Pacific as the principal area of engagement.
The Joint Statement issued after the Summit amongst other issues emphasised that the
two sides had a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight
The two sides thus expressed their intention to further promote cooperation in the field of capacity building in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness including through cooperation with other countries.
In this context, the Ministers welcomed the setting up of Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) by India in December 2018. The Indian side looked forward to Japanese side dispatching a liaison officer at the IFC-IOR in the near future. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the commencement of exchange of information based on the Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy signed last year.
The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting ASEAN centrality and unity for promoting peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. The Ministers welcomed the adoption of “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)” during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand in June 2019. The Ministers expressed their commitment to working together with ASEAN for achieving their shared objectives. The Ministers also reiterated their support for ASEAN-led frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).
The Japanese side appreciated India’s announcement of “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative” at the recent 14th EAS to create a safe, secure, stable, prosperous and sustainable maritime domain and confirmed their willingness to discuss concrete cooperation based on the Initiative.
The Ministers noted with satisfaction that India and Japan’s initiatives for realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific, including also the recent “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative” and AOIP all strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is inclusive and open to all countries in the region.
The Indian side welcomed Japan’s “Vientiane Vision 2.0” in November 2019 as an updated.
The mutually shared perspective of the Indo Pacific will benefit both sides in placing their strategic partnership on a strong footing with programmed interventions in expanding the same through military to military activities.