Antony leaves for Japan to further defence ties



New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday left for Japan on a daylong visit when he is expected to explore opportunities for furthering the bilateral military relations in global and regional security matters, maritime security, anti-piracy operations, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance.

During his stay in Tokyo on Wednesday, Antony will meet with Japan's Defence Minister Yasuo Ichikawa when these issues will figure prominently in the talks, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar, who is accompanying the minister, said here on Tuesday.

"Both sides will also discuss cooperation between the armed forces of both countries in the fields of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, training and cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping operations and other bilateral exchanges," Kar said.

Cooperation through regional and multilateral fora like the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) will also be discussed during the meeting between the two ministers, Kar added.

Antony is being accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral RK Dhowan and Army Central Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen VK Ahluwalia.

Antony's visit comes at the invitation of his counterpart, who had visited India in April last year.

India and Japan have robust bilateral defence relations, with the two navies and coast guard regularly conducting exercises on maritime security issues and also their respective warships making frequent calls at each other's ports, apart from their cooperation during anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

IANS