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India, Japan ‘Come Out In Open’ To Challenge Chinese Belligerence In The Region

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India and Japan are inching close to each other to counter a common adversary in China. Japan recently supported India in its border clash with China, saying it opposes any “unilateral attempt to change the status quo” on the India-China border (LAC).

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Japanese ambassador Satoshi Suzuki tweeted Tokyo’s support post a dialogue with India’s foreign secretary Harsh Shringla. There were reports that Shringla had also briefed envoys or his counterparts from the US, Russia, France and Germany.

Suzuki’s remarks came after several meetings at the diplomatic and military levels between India and China failed to break the deadlock even as PM Modi visited the Ladakh sector to meet Indian soldiers and boost their morale.

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“Had a good talk with FS Shringla. Appreciated his briefing on the situation along LAC, including GOI’s policy to pursue a peaceful resolution. Japan also hopes for a peaceful resolution through dialogues. Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo,” Suzuki tweeted.

India, Japan Pact To Track China

Chinese belligerence with India and other Asian neighbours has broken the slumber of many nations. Japan has decided to sign a pact for intelligence sharing with India, Australia and the U.K and not rely solely on the US for its security needs against China.

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Reports by Nikkei Asian Review says – The expansion came in last month’s revision of standards for the legislation, which already includes the United States, Japan’s closest ally. The law sets sentences of up to 10 years in jail for leaking secrets considered to risk “causing severe damage to Japan’s national security,” covering areas such as defence, diplomacy and counterterrorism.

Classifying data from a foreign military as a state secret will promote joint operations and collaborations for developing equipment. It also becomes easier to share data on Chinese troop movements, a highly critical matter as it has grown harder for Japan to track Chinese movements in the region by itself.

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Chinese Coast Guards sailed the East China Sea around Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China as the for a record 80th consecutive day. China has toughened its stance and control over the South China Sea and threatening all neighbouring nations including the ASEAN countries.

The law change will facilitate intelligence sharing with the U.K., Australia, India and France, with which Tokyo has signed pacts that commits all signatories to keep the classified defence information as top secret. Decreasing the risk of leaks should reassure these countries to share classified information.

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The amendment also serves to boost comprehensive partnership under security legislation that took effect in 2016, letting Japan exercise the right to collective self-defence and supply fuel and ammunition to other armies in case of a conflict. To implement these missions, Japan needs precise data on size, capacity and operating areas of these forces, which can include highly secret data.

Amid the ongoing India-China border standoff in Ladakh, the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces conducted a joint training exercise in the Indian Ocean.

The exercise was held in the backdrop of Japan defence minister Taro Kono sharing his concern over not only China’s defence capabilities but also its purpose in the Indo-Pacific region. This was the first such statement from Japan following China’s belligerent stance in parts of Asia over the past few months.

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Concurring with the Indo-Japan defence exercise, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) put out a statement that the South China Sea dispute should be determined in line with international law, emphasising on “the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint”.

Experts believe that the timings of India-Japan drills are significant. The content of these drills is tactical and communication training with no specific situation. It was the 15th such training exercise between Japan and the Indian Navy during the past three years following efforts by India and Japan to broaden defence collaboration with a common enemy in sight – China.

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