India & Japan to set up JWG on US-2 aircraft
Moving a step closer to the signing of the amphibious aircraft deal, India and Japan on May 29 decided to establish a Joint Working Group ( JWG) to explore modality for the cooperation on the US-2 amphibian aircraft. In a joint statement issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the governments laid down the course of cooperation over the US-2 amphibian aircraft. The decision was taken during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Japan from May 27-30 for the Annual Summit of the Prime Ministers.
The US-2 amphibious aircraft developed by Shinmaywa Industries has the capability of landing on and take-off from the outer sea. It can carry out missions ranging from constabulary, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and logistic support missions.
Applauding the commemorative events held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2012, Prime Minister Singh and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe expressed their resolve to further consolidate and strengthen the strategic and global partnership between India and Japan in the years ahead, taking into account changes in the strategic environment. They held extensive talks on bilateral, regional and global issues and expressed satisfaction at the steady growth of political exchanges, dialogue and policy coordination at all levels. They evaluated the ministerial-level annual dialogues and exchanges, particularly the Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue and the Ministerial Level Economic Dialogue and also noted the successful outcomes achieved during the “2 plus 2” dialogue, the Foreign Secretary level Dialogue, the Foreign Office Consultations, the Defence Policy Dialogue, the Trilateral Dialogue between India, Japan and the United States, as well as other key interactions on various areas including cyber, counter-terrorism and economic partnership. They welcomed the launch of the bilateral Maritime Affairs Dialogue, the first meeting of which was held on January 29, 2013, in New Delhi.
Both the Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the expanding defence relations between the two countries based on the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between India and Japan, as well as the first bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ( JMSDF) held in June 2012 off the coast of Japan. They decided to conduct more such exercises on a regular basis with increased frequency.
Singh said: “Our discussions were guided by the fundamental belief that at a time of global uncertainties, change and challenges, India and Japan are natural and indispensable partners for advancing prosperity in our two countries and for a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. The Joint Statement reflects our mutual understanding and the steps we are taking to advance our relationship. We attach particular importance to intensifying political dialogue and strategic consultations and progressively strengthening defence relations, including through naval exercises and collaboration in defence technology. Cooperation in high technology, space, energy security and rare earth minerals will also add rich content to our strategic partnership.”
They reiterated the commitment of India and Japan to the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They noted ongoing bilateral exchanges on maritime security including counter-piracy activities, participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises as well as sharing of information, and in this context, welcomed the joint exercises between the Coast Guards of India and Japan held off Chennai in January 2012 and in Tokyo Bay in November 2012. They expressed their expectations to further promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation on maritime issues and also welcomed the successful first meeting of the expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.
Singh and Abe agreed on the need to adopt a holistic approach that ensures zero tolerance towards terrorism and expressed satisfaction at the meetings of the India-Japan Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism. They agreed to finalise and adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations. Further they reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date. They also supported the strengthening of international cooperation to address the challenges of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Abe recognised India’s sound non-proliferation record. Both sides expressed their commitment to continue to work to prepare the ground for India to become a full member in the international export control regimes: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe;
Shinmaywa’s US-2 amphibian aircraft