The Asian Age

Ja­pan to help In­dia counter China

Ja­pan will help In­dia de­velop mar­itime se­cu­rity, par­tic­u­larly in an at­tempt to pro­vide a fool­proof cover for the An­daman re­gion to counter the grow­ing threat of China

- RA­JNISH SHARMA

In a sig­nif­i­cant strate­gic move, Ja­pan will help In­dia de­velop mar­itime se­cu­rity, par­tic­u­larly in an at­tempt to pro­vide a fool­proof cover for the An­daman re­gion to counter the grow­ing threat of China in that sec­tor.

Highly- placed gov­ern­ment sources said the is­sue was dis­cussed at length dur­ing the on­go­ing visit of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi to Ja­pan. Dur­ing the del­e­ga­tion­level talks be­tween se­nior In­dian and Ja­panese of­fi­cials the grow­ing in­flu­ence of China in the re­gion was dis­cussed, sources added.

Na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor Ajit Do­val was also part of th­ese de­lib­er­a­tions dur­ing which Ja­pan ex­pressed its will­ing­ness to help In­dia de­velop ca­pac­ity in coun­ter­ing any pos­si­ble threat from China in the An­damans.

Even though Ja­pan is likely to pro­vide the US- 2 am­phib­ian air­craft to In­dia, some of which will also be de­ployed in the An­damans, it has agreed to pro­vide more so­phisti- cated equip­ment, in­clud­ing arms and ammunition­s, to en­hance In­dia’s its mar­itime se­cu­rity.

For the last few years, China has been try­ing to in­crease its in­flu­ence in the In­dian Ocean as well as the Bay of Ben­gal. What has been caus­ing con­cern to the In­dian se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment is that China has suc­cess­fully man­aged to in­flu­ence Myan­mar to de­velop mil­i­tary in­fra­struc­ture on Coco Is­lands that be­long to Myan­mar. Once fully de­vel­oped, this would pose a ma­jor se­cu­rity threat to In­dian in­ter­ests in the An­daman re­gion.

Even in the past, China has tried to in­trude into the In­dian wa­ters like in 2011 a Chi­nese ves­sel cam­ou­flaged as a fish­ing trawler was spot­ted by the In­dian Navy just off the An­daman Is­lands. In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies were of the opin­ion that the mys­te­ri­ous boat was on a spy mis­sion.

It was also felt that per­son­nel from the in­tel­li­gence unit of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army were on board the boat. Grave uncer­tain­ties sur­round­ing China’s mar­itime in­ten­tions in the In­dian Ocean have prompted a sin­gu­larly fo­cused ef­fort on the part of In­dia to beef up forces de­ployed in de­fence of the An­daman and Ni­co­bar Is­lands. It is sus­pected that the An­daman sea route can be used by the Chi­nese to help in smug­gle in weapons for sub­ver­sive el­e­ments.

 ?? — AFP ?? Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi raises a toast with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe dur­ing a ban­quet at the state guest­house in Tokyo on Mon­day.
— AFP Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi raises a toast with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe dur­ing a ban­quet at the state guest­house in Tokyo on Mon­day.

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