Plan for Indian naval drill approved

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Indian counterpart, Salman Khurshid, have agreed on plans for a joint exercise between the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy by the end of this year, Japanese officials said.

The drill, aimed in part at checking China’s increasingly assertive claims in regional waters, will be the second of its kind. The first was held in Japan in June 2012.

During a meeting Tuesday in New Delhi on the sidelines of foreign ministerial talks related to the Asia-Europe Meeting, Kishida and Khurshid also agreed to soon hold the first session of a joint working group to implement the export of US-2 amphibious aircraft to India.

The US-2 is a four-engine turboprop float plane manufactured by major defense contractor ShinMaywa Industries Ltd. It is used by the MSDF for search and rescue operations.

The two foreign ministers also reaffirmed plans to seek a civil nuclear cooperation deal with an eye toward Japan exporting nuclear power plant equipment and technology to the electricity-hungry South Asian country.

Additionally, Kishida sought cooperation from Khurshid in accommodating the visit to India by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko scheduled to begin Nov. 30. Khurshid said New Delhi is working hard to prepare for the Imperial trip, Japanese officials said.

Kishida said Japan will provide ¥15.0 billion in aid to help rebuild areas in northern India affected by rainstorms in June.

Also Tuesday, Japanese and Indian officials signed a yen-denominated loan worth up to roughly ¥30.7 billion to construct facilities for the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad and infrastructure projects in southern India.

The foreign ministerial meeting between Japan and India followed a summit between Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Manmohan Singh in Tokyo in May.