NEW DELHI – Japan and India will aim to launch ministerial security talks early this year to deepen cooperation in fields such as space and cyberspace, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Monday.
“We will launch and proceed with (ministerial security) talks between Japan and India,” Kono told reporters after his meeting in New Delhi with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj.
Details of the meeting, which will involve foreign and defense ministers, will be worked out shortly.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, agreed at their October meeting in Tokyo that they will upgrade the existing “two-plus-two” framework, which operates at the vice ministerial level, to the ministerial level.
The summit was the 12th between Abe and Modi, as Japan and India seek to bolster bilateral economic and security relations at a time of China’s growing influence in Asia.
Abe has stated that he aims to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on the freedom of navigation and rule of law.
During the foreign ministers’ meeting, Kono and Swaraj also exchanged views on regional issues such as the denuclearization of North Korea.
Kono also expressed Tokyo’s determination to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement among 16 countries including Japan and India, during this year.
Later Monday, Kono also held talks with Modi to discuss ways to promote personnel exchanges between Japan and India.
Kono, who visited India for the first time since assuming the post in August 2017, also met separately with Modi and agreed to deepen bilateral ties.
India was the first stop for Kono on a trip that will also include Nepal, France and Russia.