New Delhi: (Defence News) Amid the ongoing India-China standoff the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria held wide-ranging talks with Chief of Japanese Air Force (CoS-JASDF) Gen Izutsu Shunji on Thursday. The officials said that the meeting focussed on further enhancing cooperation and interoperability between the two air forces. Gen Izutsu Shunji is currently on his India visit. Significantly his visit comes three weeks after the Malabar naval exercise comprising the Quad member nations. Gen Shunji also called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and held separate meetings with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen SK Saini.
Quad for free and open Indo-Pacific
India had hosted the Malabar exercise in November 2020. Following India's invitation, Australia also participated in the exercise effectively making it a drill by all the Quad member nations. The Quad consisting of India, Japan, USA and Australia is aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, a region that witnessed increasing Chinese military assertiveness in recent years.
India and Japan have regularly been discussing the evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific, and have signalled to expand cooperation to deal with common challenges.
The Ministry of defence in a press statement issued Thursday evening called it a 'Goodwill visit to India'. General Izutsu Shunji arrived on Wednesday it said. On his arrival at Air Headquarters, CoS-JASDF was presented with a Guard of Honour. "In subsequent discussions, CAS and CoS-JASDF recognised the progress made in defence ties between India and Japan and discussed avenues to further enhance cooperation and interoperability between the two Air Forces. They also discussed the scope for enhancement of joint exercises and training between the two Air Forces." the statement noted.
"Broader cooperation for strengthening the collective response to HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) contingencies was also discussed," the statement added.
The defence and strategic ties between the two countries have been on an upswing in the last few years. In September, India and Japan had inked a landmark agreement that allowed their militaries to access each other's bases for logistics support. The pact was signed in the backdrop of growing concerns over China's military muscle-flexing in the region.
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