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India


India, Japan hold inaugural 2+2 talks to deepen strategic cooperation

New Delhi, Nov 30 (UNI) India and Japan held their inaugural "2+2" Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue on Saturday, reflecting the growing strategic convergence between the two countries, and discussed strengthening the bilateral security and defence cooperation and coordination in building a free and rules- based Indo-Pacific.
The delegations of the two countries were led by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Japan's Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Taro Kono.
Ahead of the talks, Jaishankar reviewed with Motegi the special strategic and global partnership between the two countries.
"Adding greater depth to a special relationship. EAM @DrSJaishankar met with his Japanese counterpart @motegi ahead of the inaugural India-Japan “2+2”. The leaders reviewed the varied aspects of the special strategic partnership between the two countries," tweeted MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
According to Japanese officials, the ministers would speed up negotiations for an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) which would allow the two sides to share defence capabilities and supplies including fuel and ammunition.
The ACSA is liklely to be signed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India in mid-December for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both Motegi and Kono earlier said they expected the ministerial talks to significantly upgrade security ties between the two countries.
On Friday, Motegi said Japan would like to affirm cooperation toward achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Modi and Abe in a summit in Tokyo in October last year, had agreed on upgrading the vice ministerial-level talks to the 2+2 framework.
Japan is the second country with which India has two-plus-two security talks after the US.
Earlier in the day, the Japanese ministers called on prime minister Modi who said that the meeting will further deepen bilateral strategic, security and defence cooperation.
Modi added that India’s relationship with Japan was a key component of its vision for Indo-Pacific for peace, stability and prosperity of the region, as well as a cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy.
On November 25, Jaishankar had met Shigeru Kitamura on his first visit to India as the National Security Advisor and had "good discussions" on foreign policy cooperation.
According to Jaishankar, the launch of the talks reflects a common desire to further deepen bilateral security and defense cooperation."
"Both countries are committed to working together toward a free and open rules-based Indo-Pacific that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, ensures freedom of navigation and overflight, facilitates unimpeded lawful commerce, and seeks peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes," Jaishankar said in a written interview with Japan's Kyodo News.
Japan's Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense forces have conducted joint exercises with their Indian counterparts.
Kono said he expects the two-plus-two talks to significantly upgrade security ties between the two countries.
In a summit in Tokyo in October last year, Abe and Modi agreed to launch the two-plus-two talks by upgrading the vice ministerial-level framework.
Japan is the second country with which India has two-plus-two security talks after the United States.
UNI SRJ
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