On paper, India and Japan have been holding a “strategic” dialogue for a while. In reality, there was little to show in terms of defence cooperation between the two countries.
That is about to change: In a couple of days, the navies of the two countries will begin their first exercise off the coast of Japan. Four Indian vessels are participating in the exercise. Next year, Japanese ships will come sailing to India for similar exercises.
A file photo of INS Shivalik
Since the end of World War II, Japan has been very careful in managing how other countries perceive the nation when it comes to these matters. Its reluctance in sending its troops and defence forces even on peacekeeping missions is well known. From that perspective, these exercises are nothing short of a sea change in its outlook and certainly its ties with India. These ties need to be promoted and strengthened further.