India and Japan will negotiate a logistics sharing agreement along the lines of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between India and the US, which will allow the two navies to work together with greater interoperability. It is yet another sign of the growing convergence between the two Asian powers, as they confront an aggressive China on their doorsteps.
Called an Acquisition, Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that Japan has signed with its closest partners like US, Australia, UK and France, the India-Japan agreement is expected to be done by the time prime minister Narendra Modi goes to Japan for the annual summit. Modi is expected to meet Shinzo Abe on October 29 in Tokyo.
“We have started talks,” sources said. The proposal was greenlighted during the visit of the Japanese defense minister Itsunori Onodera on Monday. India and Japan held seven bilateral and multilateral naval exercises in 2017. These will only intensify in the future. Both countries are also working on a maritime domain awareness agreement. This will be akin to a white shipping agreement, but between the two navies, largely to make up for a discrepancy in the protocol — in India, white shipping agreements are handled by the navy, but in Japan, they fall under the Coast Guard. After naval and army exercises, Japan and India are looking at air force and counter-terrorism exercises.
After focusing on investment and infrastructure and economic relations, India and Japan are using this year to focus on deepening defence and security ties. With both countries adopting complementary Indo-Pacific strategies that are aimed at being more inclusive and less accepting of the expansionist and exclusionary policies of China, there is greater convergence between the two powers.
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