Japan Monday lifted ban on HAL and five other Indian entities, which had been imposed in the aftermath of the 1998 nuclear tests, amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that cooperation between the two countries in defence and security will get a “new direction”.
The lifting of the ban was announced by Modi at his joint media interaction with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe here after their talks during which they discussed ways to enhance cooperation in various areas to make it Special Strategic and Global Partnership.
“Japan has decided to remove ban on some entities,” he said.
Sources later said the ban had been lifted on six entities, including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. However, four entities still remain in the banned list.
The removal of the ban will enable these companies to have cooperation with Japanese firms, including transfer of technology.
After the talks, the two sides also signed an MoU in the field of defence, which provides for enhanced exchanges and exercises, including at multilateral level.
The two sides agreed to upgrade from Joint Secretary to Minister level the trilateral dialogue on defence and security which also involves the US.
“The defence MoU shows that we are keen to take our relationship to a new level,” Modi said.
“Defence cooperation will get a new direction. It will not be limited to talks and exercises but cooperation in technology and equipment,” Modi said.
The Tokyo Declaration said Modi and Abe decided to “intensify and invigorate” exchanges recognising the “special quality” of bilateral engagement imparted by multi-sectoral ministerial and Cabinet-level dialogues, in particular, those between their Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers and Ministers dealing with finance, economy, trade and energy.
Modi welcomed the recent developments in Japan’s policy on transfer of defence equipment and technology and the two Prime Ministers expressed hope that this would usher in a new era of cooperation in defence equipment and technology.
They recognised the enormous future potential for transfer and collaborative projects in defence equipment and technology between the two countries, the declaration said.
They welcomed progress made in discussions in the Joint Working Group on cooperation in US-2 amphibian aircraft and its technology, and directed their officials to accelerate their discussions.
They also directed their officials to launch working-level consultations between the two countries with a view to promoting defence equipment and technology cooperation.
They underlined the importance of the 2 plus 2 dialogue, involving Foreign and Defence Secretaries, for their growing strategic partnership, and decided to seek ways to intensify this dialogue.
The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed the importance of defence relations between India and Japan in their strategic partnership and decided to upgrade and strengthen them, the declaration said.
They welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence during the visit. In this context, they attached importance to the regularisation of bilateral maritime exercises as well as to Japan’s continued participation in India – US Malabar series of exercises.
They also welcomed the existing dialogue mechanism and joint exercises between Indian and Japanese Coast Guards.
The two Prime Ministers recognised their wide-ranging shared interests in security of maritime and cyber domains, and decided to work with each other and with like-minded partners to preserve the integrity and inviolability of these global commons.
They affirmed their shared commitment to maritime security, freedom of navigation and overflight, civil aviation safety, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.