On September 8, India and Japan will hold their second 2+2 dialogue of the foreign and defence ministers in Tokyo to advance strategic cooperation in important areas like joint operations and defence manufacturing.
People with knowledge of the situation stated on Wednesday that the meeting will take place weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is anticipated to travel to Japan to attend the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 27.
In regards to the meeting or PM Modi’s anticipated visit, neither nation had issued any formal statements.
Since the first quarter of this year, the Japanese side has pushed for the holding of the 2+2. According to the people, the meeting between Japanese counterparts Yasukazu Hamada and Yoshimasa Hayashi and defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar will set the course for future cooperation in crucial areas related to defence, emerging technologies, and joint exercises.
The 2+2 conference will look at ways to build on the important agreement that India and Japan operationalized earlier this year for reciprocal provision of goods and services between their defence forces. In September 2020, the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Indian armed forces signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).
The Japanese side is keen to explore ways to work together on the joint development and manufacturing of advanced military hardware. Though Japan does not have a very well established military manufacturing industry, it has expertise and materials that can be used for the joint development of equipment, the people said.
At a time when India and Japan are worried about China’s aggressive moves along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in the South China Sea, and in the East China Sea, the conference will provide the two sides with an opportunity to assess regional security challenges.
The people stated that the 2+2 summit will also emphasise strengthening communications between the armed forces and security organisations of the two countries as well as joint exercises.
The Japanese side is eager to investigate opportunities for collaboration on the combined development and production of cutting-edge military gear. Despite not having a very developed military manufacturing sector, Japan possesses knowledge and resources that can be applied to the collaborative development of equipment, according to the sources.
Only a small number of critical allies, including the US, Russia, Australia, and Japan, and India, presently hold 2+2 meetings. With the exception of Russia, all four nations are allies of India in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
In November 2019, the first India-Japan 2+2 meeting took place in New Delhi.
In the meantime, Modi is expected to attend the Abe state burial in Tokyo next month, according to anonymous Japanese government officials quoted by Japan’s Kyodo news service.
During the trip, Modi, who was tight with Abe, is anticipated to meet Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The last time Modi visited Japan was in May to attend a Quad conference that Kishida was hosting. On that trip, he had met Abe.
The longest-serving prime minister of Japan, Abe, was shot last month while making an election campaign rally.
Numerous world leaders are anticipated for Abe’s burial.