1st India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial

While the Indian delegation was led by Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Shri S. Jaishankar, the Japanese side was led by Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, and Minister of Defense, Mr. Taro Kono

November 30, 2019

The meeting came in the backdrop of strong ties between the two major Asian economies that go back 1,400 years. This relation has been further emboldened by frequent high profile visits and annual bilateral visits which entered its 13th year in 2018

Japan was one of the earliest foreign investors in India in the early 1980s. Since then Japan’s involvement in India has expanded from automobile to cover nuclear energy, agriculture/food processing, precision manufacturing, retail, skilling, among others

Since last year India and Japan have initiated bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces. At the 2+2 meeting, the ministers welcomed the rise in the number of bilateral defence exercises as well as multilateral cooperation

During their visit, Minister Motegi and Minister Kono met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the 2+2 meeting will further deepen bilateral strategic, security and defence cooperation between India and Japan

India and Japan, two traditional partners in Asia, held their first 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on November 30. While the Indian delegation was led by Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Shri S. Jaishankar, the Japanese side was led by Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, and Minister of Defense, Mr. Taro Kono. The occasion provided a platform for discussions on bilateral cooperation and partnership in all matters related to defence, security, and foreign affairs. The meeting came in the backdrop of strong ties between the two major Asian economies that go back 1,400 years. This relation has been further emboldened by frequent high profile visits and annual bilateral visits which entered its 13th year in 2018. 

Japan was one of the earliest foreign investors in India in the early 1980s. Since then Japan’s involvement in India has expanded from the automobile sector to cover nuclear energy, science, and technological R&D, agriculture/food processing, precision manufacturing, steel, retail, marine exploration, academics, transportation, skilling, among others. In 2014, Japan had pledged public and private investments worth over US$30 billion in India, in addition to a ‘Japan-India Make in India Special Finance Facility’ with a corpus of nearly US$12 billion. Japan has also committed to doubling the number of Japanese firms in India.

Building on such vast scope of cooperation, India, and Japan today are steady partners in defence, security, and foreign affairs, covering maritime defence to defence manufacturing.

At the 2+2 ministerial, the ministers affirmed that the dialogue will boost the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation. Acknowledging emerging security challenges, the ministers reiterated their commitment to advancing bilateral security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the 2009 Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation. Recalling that the two sides had a shared vision of a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight, the ministers emphasized that further strengthening of bilateral ties was in mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

The critical meeting touched upon the following topics:

India-Japan Bilateral Defence Cooperation

  1. Since last year India and Japan have initiated bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces. At the 2+2 meeting, the ministers welcomed the rise in the number of bilateral defence exercises, like the recently held 2nd “Dharma Guardian-2019” and the 2nd “SHINYUU Maitri-2019”. The 1st India-Japan joint fighter aircraft exercise is scheduled to be held next in Japan.
  2. At the meeting, the two sides welcomed the progress made in the negotiations of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) since the announcement to commence the negotiations in October 2018. The ministers pushed for the early conclusion of the negotiations and were of the view that the agreement will further contribute to enhancing defence cooperation between the two sides.
  3. At the 2+2 meeting, the ministers expressed their intention to further promote cooperation in capacity building in maritime security and domain awareness including through cooperation with other countries. In this context, both sides welcomed the setting up of the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) by India in December 2018. 
  4. The ministers emphasized the need to further strengthen defence equipment and technology cooperation and looked forward to productive discussions in the 5th Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC). In this context, the Ministers welcomed the progress on cooperative research in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/ Robotics.
  5. At the 2+2 meeting, the ministers also appreciated the existing exchange programs between the defence educational and research institutions of the two countries and expressed their desire to continue and expand the exchange programmes.

India-Japan Multilateral Defence Cooperation

  1. Recalling the Japan-India-US Summit Meetings in November 2018 and June 2019, the ministers at the 2+2 acknowledged the trilateral cooperation with the US. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction at trilateral cooperation represented by the “MALABAR 2019” held from September-October 2019 off the coast of Japan, mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) held in Japan in July 2019 and “Cope India 2018” in which Japan participated as an observer in December 2018.
  2. The ministers welcomed the recent Japan-India-Australia-US Foreign Ministerial consultations in New York in September 2019.

India-Japan regional and International Affairs

  1. The ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting ASEAN centrality and unity for promoting peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. Both sides 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 work together with ASEAN to achieve 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). 
  2. The Japanese side appreciated India’s announcement of the “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 Indian side welcomed Japan’s “Vientiane Vision 2.0” in November 2019 as an updated initiative for defence cooperation between Japan and ASEAN.
  3. The ministers exchanged views on the recent developments in the South China Seakeeping in view also the Chairman’s Statement of the 14th EAS. In this context, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including those reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

During their visit, Minister Motegi and Minister Kono met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the 2+2 meeting will further deepen bilateral strategic, security and defence cooperation between India and Japan. Meanwhile, both sides shared recognition on the importance of the continuing exchange of opinions in light of the success of this 2+2 Ministerial Meeting and decided to hold the next 2+2 Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo.