Emphasizing the growing strategic stakes in the Asia-Pacific region, India, and Japan are set to sign the maritime domain awareness (MDA) agreement during their annual bilateral summit, scheduled for October 29. The agreement is aimed at facilitating the ability of the two navies to share critical information of mutual interest such as the movement of Chinese warships/submarines in the Indian Ocean. This agreement will shore-up the monitoring wherewithal of the two countries against the backdrop of the increased presence of Chinese warships in their respective waters.
"We are expecting to sign an agreement between the Indian and Japanese navies in MDA and maritime security, which will enable more cooperation in this domain," Japan's envoy to India Kenji Hiramatsu revealed at a briefing about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tokyo on October 28-29.
The two countries completed the legwork of the agreement during Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Japan in August this year.
"We are hoping to start a formal negotiation process that will enable us to sign an Acquisition and Cross-Service Agreement (ACSA), a mutual logistics support agreement. It is natural that two countries, which have such a large number of exercises, should implement a logistics support agreement," Hiramatsu added.
India has a similar logistics support agreement with the US, which it signed in 2016. In March this year, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government signed a similar pact with France. The Indian Navy has also been receiving logistics support at Singaporean military bases since 2015.
The Japanese envoy also revealed that that Japanese air force observers would attend the upcoming ‘Cope India' exercise, which the US and Indian air force conduct annually. India and Japan will also hold their first-ever joint military exercise in November this year in Mizoram, in northeast India.
Japan is also initiating its first joint military technology project with India. "In the field of defense technology cooperation, we will cooperate on building unmanned vehicles and robotics," Hiramatsu stated.