DEFENCE MINISTER Rajnath Singh on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with his Japanese counterpart Kishi Nobuo during which both leaders discussed defence cooperation between the two countries and opposed any attempts to change status quo through coercion in the region – in a veiled reference to China.
They also discussed the Malabar naval exercise, which concluded in November, and for the first time since 2007 saw participation of all four members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – India, Japan, US and Australia.
The conversation, another sign of deepening defence ties between both the countries, comes in the backdrop of the continuing military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
Japan’s Defence Ministry said in its statement that the two leaders “also exchanged views on regional situations, including the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and reaffirmed their continued close cooperation”. “In this context, the ministers affirmed their intention to continue exchanging views in light of the current events occurring in the region and concurred in sending a clear message that they strongly oppose any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by coercion or any activities that escalate tension,” it said.
Singh tweeted, “India is committed to further elevate engagements with Japan under the Special Strategic & Global partnership framework,” he said.