Delivering a strong message to China, India and Japan on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to a rule-based global order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. Delhi and Tokyo also said that there should be no attempt on the part of any country to unilaterally change the status quo. The two countries also highlighted their commitment to a common strategic goal of achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, that is inclusive and resilient based on the rule of law and free from coercion.
This was said a joint statement, released by the Ministry of External Affairs, after the second India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting. The meeting was held in Tokyo.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with Japan’s Defence Minister Hamada Yasukazu and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa. Sources told The Daily Guardian that the 2+2 ministerial meeting elaborately discussed China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific and other maritime spheres. The ministers of both countries discussed ways to deal with the Chinese agenda.
India and Japan also agreed to enhance military exercises and defence cooperation, amidst China’s belligerence in the Indo-Pacific. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada in Tokyo on the first day of his official visit to Japan and agreed to hold military drills aimed at boosting co-ordination between the air forces of the two nations.
Noting that India and Japan pursue a Special Strategic and Global Partnership, Singh said India’s defence partnership with Japan will play a crucial role in ensuring a free, open and rules-based Indo Pacific region. India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. In what is being viewed as a significant development, the Indian and Japanese ministers agreed to hold the first jet fighter exercise at an early date. According to the joint statement, the ministers had a frank and fruitful discussion on a host of issues, particularly those in the Indo-Pacific as well as Ukraine. The ministers admitted that the need for global cooperation had become more acute due to the security challenges.
Reaffirming their commitment to a rules-based global order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, the ministerial quartet also called for peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law without resorting to threat or use of force of any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo.
Sources said that the Japanese foreign minister Hayashi categorically said during the meeting that unilateral attempts to change the status quo with force are continuing in the East and the South China Seas, let alone Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India reaffirmed its stand that the problem between Ukraine and Russia should be resolved through diplomacy and there should be an immediate end to violence. However, Japan continued to stick to its stand, critical of Russia’s action against Ukraine. Tokyo has taken a strong position against Russia and has joined the West in imposing economic sanctions against Moscow. New Delhi has refrained from criticizing Russia for its military operation against Ukraine.