New Delhi: Just days after they began talks
for a nuclear pact, India and Japan today held the first
senior-level dialogue on foreign affairs and security, during
which both sides discussed the regional and global security
situation and took a "comprehensive review" of bilateral ties.
While India, for the first time, held such an engagement
known as `2+2 dialogue`, Japan has been involved in such
consultation with mutual allies-- the US and Australia.
The fact that Japan has extended such deliberations with a
country other than its mutual allies, shows the significance
the ties are assuming.
The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, while Deputy Foreign
Minister Kenichiro Sasae and Vice Defense Minister Kimito
Nakae represented Japan.
The Prime Ministers of the two countries had agreed to
these `2+2 consultations` at senior officials` level in the
Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation of December 2009,
during the visit of then Japanese Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama to India.
"Each side provided the other with an exposition of its defence and security policies in the framework of their respective security environments," the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Against this background, the two sides reviewed the
India-Japan Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the
Action Plan to advance such cooperation, according to an
official release from External Affairs Ministry.
Besides discussing non-traditional threats to security,
the two sides decided to hold the next meeting of the
India-Japan Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism at an
early date with an aim to strengthen cooperation in this
Ways to strengthen cooperation in anti-piracy operations
in the Gulf of Aden and holding of joint naval exercises were
also part of the discussion.
The next round of the India-Japan `2+2 dialogue` will
be held in Tokyo in 2011.
The prospects a bilateral civil nuclear pact, following the first round of nuclear negotiations a week ago in Tokyo, were also discussed by the two sides.
The engagement, which takes place days after the two
countries initiated talks on June 28-29 on the civil nuclear
cooperation, a move which was widely hailed as a breakthrough
as it marked a major shift in the position of Japan -- the
only country which has been opposing any atomic dealing with a
non-NPT signatory country.