India, Japan summit is set for early next month with a key military logistic pact in the pipeline to be signed by the Prime Ministers of both nations. The broad focus of the meeting will be to further expand India-Japan trade ties along with a discussion on increasing Chinese aggression in Ladakh and the South China Sea.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are likely to sign off on not just a military logistic pact but also an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) and discuss the possibility of some Japanese manufacturing units shifting to India.
According to reports, the two leaders will further strengthen economic cooperation by promoting Japanese manufacturing activities in India, and possibly, involve Tokyo in ramping up port infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The two leaders are also expected to review the long-pending issue of supply of the US-2 amphibious aircraft by Japan to India.
In the backdrop of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) increasing aggression in Ladakh and Japan’s Senkaku Islands, that China claims as its own, the military pact to be signed between the leaders will allow reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support, said sources familiar with the matter.
It will allow the two countries to use each other’s bases and facilities for repair and replenishment of supplies besides facilitating scaling up of overall cooperation. Japan has constantly lent its support to India and has criticized “any unilateral” move by China to change the status quo in Ladakh.
India is also looking forward to formally invite Australia to join the Malabar naval exercise this year. Diplomats said that the two leaders will also discuss on cementing the concept of Quad, the quadrilateral coalition of four countries – India, Japan, Australia, and the US. It will the first time when the Quad members will be engaged at a military level.
Earlier Abe’s visit was supposed to take place in Guwahati on December 15-17 2019. However, due to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Assam, it was postponed. Now, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the summit will be a virtual one.