New Delhi: – General Izutsu Shunji, the Chief of the Japanese Air Force, met Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, on Thursday. As per received information, discussions regarding increasing the bilateral defence cooperation were held during the meeting. China and Pakistan have started joint air exercises from Wednesday, and against this background, this visit becomes significant.
Only last month, Japan participated in the Malabar naval exercises organised by India. The chief of the Japanese Air Force has indicated an increase in the defence cooperation with a visit shortly after the practices. Izutsu Shunji, the Chief of the Japanese Air Force, also met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence General Bipin Rawat, Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General SK Saini.
An official informed that discussions during the meetings with all the different chiefs, including the Air Force Chief, were regarding defence-related issues. Whereas, it is said that interoperability was also a topic discussed during the meeting between General Izutsu Shunji and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria. This includes holding joint air exercises and training.
In the last few months, India has increased its active participation in the QUAD group and has increased the stress on increasing defence cooperation with Japan and Australia. A joint naval exercise had been held in June between the Indian and Japanese navies. After that, in September, India and Japan signed the crucial logistic support deal. As per this deal, both the countries will have access to each other’s military bases and facilities available at these bases. It is believed that impetus has been provided to these activities to stop the aggressive Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, information has been received that China-Pakistan joint air exercise has started from Wednesday. This exercise, named Shaheen-9, is being held at an airbase in the Sindh province. A unit of the Chinese air force has reached Pakistan for this purpose, and it is said that the objective of the exercise is to increase the joint operations capabilities of both countries. The Japanese Air Force Chief’s visit to India to discuss regarding increasing bilateral defence cooperation, while the exercise is being held, attains significance.