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India and Japan plan to allow their armed forces to use each other’s military bases in near future. According to diplomatic sources, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzō Abe will hold talks on a military base sharing agreement during their summit to be held on October 28-29. Sources said that the two armed forces could share and implement their own programmes after signing of the accord.
The Indian PM will arrive in Tokyo in the last week of October to attend the 13th India-Japan Summit during which the two premiers will discuss the issue. After the Modi-Abe summit, the two ‘friendly’ nations could sign a ‘Framework Agreement’.
Foreign policy experts are of the opinion that it’s one of the most important steps taken by New Delhi and Tokyo in recent times to counter China’s growing aggression in the Asia-Pacific region. The proposed accord will strengthen co-operation between the two Armies, Navies and Air Forces, apart from making it easier for Tokyo and New Delhi to monitor China’s strategic moves in the region.
India and Japan started the initial discussions on this issue in August. During his trip to New Delhi, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera discussed various aspects of the defence deal with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman. They agreed to sign a ‘milestone agreement’ to counter China. Later, the national security advisers of the two countries held a separate meeting to discuss the same issue. Sources close to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs revealed that New Delhi and Tokyo would not only allow each other’s forces to use their military bases for defence purposes, but would also help each other with “logistic supports, including food, water, billet, transport (airlift, if necessary), petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communications, medical services, base support, storage, use of facilities, training services, spare parts, repair and maintenance and airport and seaport services”.
The Indian Navy
Currently, Japan has a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, in the western side of the Indian Ocean. The proposed accord will allow India to use this base, where the US and China, too, set up their bases. So, the geographical location of the island nation is strategically very important for all the parties.
Now, India is waiting for China’s response to this joint initiative. The axis between Japan, India, Australia and the US has already put the Asian giant under tremendous diplomatic pressure. They are trying hard to corner Beijing in the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, western Pacific and the South China Sea. Although China has issued strongly-worded statements against the axis in recent times, the top political leadership in Beijing believes that the situation is still under control!
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