APD | India-Japan Defense Cooperation a threat to regional peace and security

2023-01-09 15:47 BY APD NEWS

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail:      

India and Japan are set to hold joint Air Exercise 'Veer Guardian-2023' at Japan's Hyakuri Air Base, next week in a bid to promote air defense cooperation between the two countries. The air exercise, which will take place from January 12 to 26, will witness the participation of India's Su-30 MKI, two C-17s, and one IL-78 aircraft. Meanwhile, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) will be participating with four F-2 and four F-15 aircraft.

"An IAF contingent will depart for Hyakuri Air Base, Japan for the maiden Exercise Veer Guardian 2023 to be held with Japan Air Self Defense Force from 12 to 26 Jan 2023 IAF will participate with four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 Globemasters, and an IL-78 tanker," Indian Air Force tweeted.

This comes more than one month after the multilateral exercise Malabar between India, the United States, Japan, and Australia was conducted from November 08 - 15 at Yokosuka, Japan.

Before that in September 2022, six Indian Ships, one submarine along with P8I, Mig-29K, and Dornier aircraft participated in the bilateral exercise JIMEX 22 with Japan Maritime Defense Force (JMSDF) ships Izumo and Takanami near Visakhapatnam.

In the same month, a delegation led by the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard visited Tokyo, Japan for the 20th edition of the High-Level Meeting between the Indian Coast Guard and the Japanese Coast Guard.

According to the Defense Ministry, joint exercises are being conducted alternately in India and Japan for the establishment of a collaborative relationship to combat crimes at sea and the development of regional cooperation.

There is a visible growth in India-Japan Defense cooperation, which covers various aspects including security and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region - A Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (JDSC) between India and Japan was signed in 2008, a Memorandum of Defense Cooperation and Exchanges was signed in 2014, Agreement concerning Transfer of Defense Equipment & Technology Cooperation and Agreement concerning Security Measures for Protection of Classified Military information were signed in 2015 and Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between Indian Navy and JMSDF as signed in 2018. The Agreement concerning the Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services between the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the Indian Armed Forces RPSS) was signed on 9 September 2020.

The first Defense Ministerial Meeting was held in September 2019 in Tokyo. Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff visited Japan on an official visit in December 2019. Gen Yamazaki Koji, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff visited India from 14 to 17 January 2020 to participate in Raisina Dialogue-2020. Adm Yamamura Hiroshi, Chief of Staff, MSDF visited India on an official visit from 10-12 Feb 2020. A 6-member delegation led by Adm Okushima Takahiro, Commandant Japan Coast Guard visited India for the 19th ICG-JCG High-Level Meeting held at New Delhi on 14 January 2020 and also witnessed the joint exercises off Chennai held on 16 Jan 2020. Gen Shunji Izutsu, COS, JASDF visited India on an official visit from 09-10 December 2020. Adm Hiroshi Yamamura, COS, JMSDF visited on an official visit to India from 25-27 Feb 22. Gen Koji Yamazaki, COS, Joint Staff visited India to participate in the Raisina Dialogue 22 from 25-27 Apr 22. Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff visited Japan from 16-20 May 22. The second Defense Ministerial Meeting was held in September 2022 in Tokyo.

The Tri-Service Exchanges between Japan and India have been institutionalized completing the triad. The 8th Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks were held in Tokyo from 9-11 July 2019. The 5th Army-to-Army Staff Talks were held in New Delhi from 7-9 February 2019 and 4th Air Force-to-Air Force Staff Talks were held on 05 November 2020. In addition, a large number of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges have been taking place regularly between all three services in consonance with discussions at the respective staff talks. Bilateral air exercise ‘Shinyuu Maitri-18’ was held between Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and Indian Air Force in December 2018 and October 2019 in India. Indian Navy and JMSDF regularly undertake bilateral exercises such as JIMEX, Bilateral Maritime Exercises, and Passage Exercises. In addition, they also participate in various multilateral exercises demonstrating a very high level of interoperability. JMSDF ship JS Yuudachi and high-level delegation also participated for the first time in MILAN 2022 held off Visakhapatnam in February /March 2022. The last edition of the Indian Army – JGSDF bilateral exercise Dharma Guardian, was held in Belgaum from 27 Feb to 10 Mar 2022.

A decision to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) on DETC was taken in 2014. Six meetings have been held so far in March 2015, August 2016, September 2017, July 2018, February 2020, and February 2022. The 2nd India-Japan Defense Business Forum was held on the sidelines of Aero India-2019 in Bengaluru on 23 February 2019.

Japan is also helping India to develop its defense technology by transferring hi-tech and advanced systems. Currently, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), Japan is spending around 50 billion USD on defense. Whilst, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that India has allocated almost 80 billion USD to be spent on defense. It is worth noting here that so far both states have signed 12 major agreements which one way or the other strengthen their mutual defense industry and technology. The defense cooperation between the two goes back to the early 1980s when the Japanese economy was at its zenith being the 2nd largest in the world and they signed the Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology in 1985.

India and Japan are two countries sharing the “Quad” with the US and Australia, which was aimed to counter China and contain China. Its major task is to resist the rise of China. The rapidly growing defense cooperation between them has alarmed not only China but the whole region. As India has very tense relations with all its neighbors. Its border, political, ethnic, territorial, and trade disputes with Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, and Maldives have already disturbed regional peace. Enhancing India's defense capabilities will certainly be a threat to all its neighbors. It might create an arms race in the region. Although India's economy is suffering badly and the poverty index has risen sharply, but, its defense expenditures are growing inappropriately. It is a sign of its evil intentions and all neighboring nations have taken serious notice of it.

There is a rationale for all regional countries bordering with India, for a defense alliance and joint efforts to keep the security and peace of the whole region intact. Only collectively, we can counter Indian threats to regional security and peace.