Ahmedabad: In the backdrop of China's growing assertiveness in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are likely to deliberate extensively on bolstering defence and security ties during the annual summit in Gandhinagar on Thursday.
The annual Indo-Japan summit is taking place amid escalating tension in the region following the nuclear test by North Korea and China's combative posturing in the resource- rich South China Sea.
There may be specific discussions on the 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, as per PTI.
The two PMs may also explore ways to further deepen ties between the navies of the two countries to check China's heightened activities in the Indian Ocean.
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 was 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.
PM 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 PM 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.
PM Modi accords warm welcome to Abe:
Meanwhile, Abe on Wednesday began a two-day visit to India in Ahmedabad with a warm hug from PM Modi.
Later, the two leaders took an eight-kilometre journey in an open jeep from the Ahmedabad airport to the Sabarmati Ashram where they along with Japan's First Lady Akie Abe paid floral tributes to a portrait and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
All along the route, people lining up both sides of the road cheered and waved at the dignitaries. Abe, who landed in a suit, changed into a white churidar-kurta topped with a bright blue sleeveless jacket, IANS reported.
His wife wore a maroon printed kurta with straight pants.
After spending some time there, Shinzo Abe and Akie went to the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in the heart of Ahmedabad, guided by PM Modi.
The 16th-century mosque is known the world over for its window filigree work synonymous with Ahmedabad.
The Abes ended the day with a dinner at a heritage hotel.
(With Agency inputs)