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India, Japan agree on defence cooperation

Friday 26 May 2006

Press Trust of India

TOKYO, May 25 : Against the backdrop of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, India and Japan today announced a string of measures to step up defence cooperation between the two countries.

A joint statement released after Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s talk with his counterpart, Japanese Minister of State for Defence Fukushiro Nukaga, said the Indian Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) will hold goodwill exercises in areas of mutual interest.

It said defence ministers of the two countries will hold dialogue at regular intervals, alternately in the two capitals or elsewhere, and also use opportunities for bilateral exchanges at regional and multilateral meetings.

The two countries will hold defence policy dialogue at the defence secretary level and there will be regular comprehensive security dialogue and military-to-military talks.

The two sides also agreed to exchange ship visits between the Indian Navy and the JMSDF and invite each other’s officials to witness designated military activities.

At the delegation-level talks, the two ministers discussed the emerging security concerns in Asia and at the global level that have challenged India and Japan through new threats including trans-national terrorism, violent extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials, equipment, technologies and the means of delivery.

Mukherjee and Nukaga also discussed the threat to maritime traffic and recognised that such new and non-traditional threats affect the security of nations worldwide.

They also exchanged views on traditional challenges of mutual concern and interest that have a bearing on Asian and global security, the joint statement said.

To a specific request from Nukaga, Mukherjee announced that the Indian Army band will take part in the band marching festival in November 2006.

He also offered incentives to Japanese SDF trainee officers for participating in the programmes conducted by the National Defence Academy.

Earlier, before the start of the talks, Mukherjee, who is here on a four-day visit to Japan at the invitation of Nukaga, drove down to the memorial zone, a cenotaph built in memory of the soldiers of self-defence forces who laid down their lives for the cause of the nation.

Mukherjee also inspected an impressive guard of honour presented by the SDF.

Taking time off from his busy schedule, the Indian Defence Minister visited the Edo-Tokyo museum which has a large number of artifacts spanning over 400 years.

See online : The Indian Express

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