India, Japan to regularize naval exercises

Tokyo, May 29 (IANS) Taking their strategic cooperation further, India and Japan Wednesday announced that bilateral naval exercises would be regularized and held more frequently.

However, both countries made it clear that multi-lateral naval exercises, involving more countries, would not be held.

“The bilateral naval exercises will be regularized. These are going to be implemented more frequently,” Tonohika Taniguchi, councillor and a member of the Japanese prime minister’s strategic team, said here.

He said India and Japan were giving emphasis to strategic partnership, especially when it comes to safeguarding their respective maritime regions. Both countries have maritime interests in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, respectively.

Japan has already expressed its concern over the move by China to regulate maritime movement in the South China Sea.

“We will be concerned if there is any attempt to change the rules of movement,” Taniguchi said, referring to the move by China.

Japan and India have been calling for strengthening of mutual cooperation to ensure regional stability in Asia, especially in the maritime zones.

Both countries have meetings of their foreign and defence ministers on regular basis to engage in strategic cooperation.

The US and Australia have shown interest in joining the naval exercises conducted by Japan and India jointly. However, India has not shown interest in expanding the bilateral exercises to a tri-lateral or multi-lateral level.

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