Indian and Japan to hold joint military exercise

Indian and Japan to hold joint military exercise

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

India and Japan are set to expand the ambits of the joint military drills, with an exercise involving ground forces of the two nations likely to be held later this year.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will host her counterpart in Japanese Government, Itsunori Onodera, in New Delhi next month. They will discuss ways to step up bilateral defence cooperation, particularly focussing on joint military exercises. The meeting between Indian and Japanese defence ministers is likely to finalise the date for the joint exercise, involving the Indian Army and Japan's Ground Self Defence Force, sources told the DH in New Delhi on Saturday.

Sitharaman and Onodera will also hold a discussion on the proposal of a joint exercise, involving Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self Defence Force.

Since 2015, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force have been joining Indian Navy and the United States Navy for the annual Malabar Exercise, which earlier remained a bilateral drill. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart in Japan, Shinzo Abe, agreed during the annual summit in September 2017 to hold bilateral military drills involving ground and air forces too. Sitharaman and Onodera are likely to follow up on what the two Prime Ministers had agreed to last year.

Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force have also expanded cooperation in specialised areas, including in anti-submarine warfare. The meeting between Sitharaman and Onodera will focus on expanding maritime domain awareness in Indo-Pacific region too, sources in New Delhi said.