Indian and Japanese Ministers at the first edition of 2+2 dialogue on 30th November 2019 in New Delhi.
India and Japan are planning to hold a 2+2 format dialogue between their Defence and Foreign Ministers in Tokyo later this month. Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will meet with the Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo. This meeting comes ahead of the Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s planned visit to India. This will be the second edition of such talks between India and Japan after the inaugural edition was held on 30th November 2019 in New Delhi.
This meeting comes amid the rising tensions in the East China Sea, where Japan and China are lodged in a territorial dispute over the Japanese administered uninhabited Senkaku / Diaoyu islands. Japan is keen on resuming physical engagements with India as the Chinese threat continues to increase. The Japanese government is looking at India as a partner that shares the same values and principles and can work towards a free and open Indo-pacific. The talks also come right ahead of the Japanese Prime Minister Suga’s maiden visit to India later this month. The dates of his visit will be finalized after taking stock of the covid situation in the country.
Japan’s new Prime Minister Suga, who took charge after former PM Shinzo Abe resigned in August last year due to medical reasons, has been vocal about his criticism of China. He has been critical of China’s policy on the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and even Xinjiang. He even discussed these topics with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a phone conversation before the Quad summit earlier this year.
In the phone call, they talked about expanding bilateral cooperation between the countries as well as under the Quad framework. Japan is increasingly looking at India as a partner in its vision of a free and open Indo-pacific and to counter Chinese aggression. Suga is also traveling to Washington DC in the second week of April and meets with US President Joe Biden on the 16th of April.
In the first-ever 2+2 talks between the two countries, they agreed to enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defense cooperation. Japan and India signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) in September last year. It is a military pact that allows the countries to access each other’s provisions of supplies and services during bilateral exercises and training, UN Peacekeeping operations, and other humanitarian activities. In the second edition of these talks, both the countries are expected to discuss the ways to cooperate more closely on defense.
Among other issues, the ministers are also expected to discuss joint efforts towards strengthening supply chains in the region.
Both the countries have been focusing their attention on the Quad framework. Japan has been focusing its foreign policy on the Quad and is looking at the 2+2 meetings as a way to strengthen its relationship with India.