New Delhi: Boosting cooperation in defence and security is likely to be a major focus area when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe hold the annual summit talks Thursday in Gandhinagar in the western state of Gujarat.
There may be specific discussions on long-pending Indian proposal to buy the US-2 amphibious aircraft from Japan and joint development of military equipment to further deepen the defence ties in sync with strategic partnership between the two countries, official sources said.
The annual Indo-Japan summit is taking place amid escalating tension in the region in the wake of the nuclear test by North Korea and China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, and Modi and Abe are expected to deliberate on them.
Ahead of Abe’s visit here, the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue had taken place in Tokyo during which co-production of military equipment, dual use technologies and New Delhi’s proposal to buy the US-2 ShinMaywa aircraft were discussed.
Last year, China had reacted angrily to reports that Japan plans to sell weapons to India at cheaper prices, saying that such a move is disgraceful.
There are indications that the joint statement by the two countries after Modi-Abe talks will have certain components relating to defence cooperation.
At the defence dialogue, the two sides had also agreed to commence technical discussions for research collaboration in the areas of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics.
Modi and Abe are expected to deliberate on cooperation in the nuclear energy sector as well.
A landmark civil nuclear deal between the two countries providing for collaboration between their industries in the field had come into force in July.
The nuclear cooperation agreement was signed last November during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tokyo.
The deal allows Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo
There was political resistance in Japan — the only country to suffer atomic bombings during Second World War — against a nuclear deal with India, particularly after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.
Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.