New Delhi: India and Japan on Monday discussed ways to expand their security and defence cooperation at a meeting of their foreign and defence secretaries in Tokyo, the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The two delegations also exchanged views on maritime, cyber and outer space security," it said, adding: “They agreed to an early meeting of the new India-Japan Cyber Security Dialogue."

The consultations at the senior official level are mandated by the action plan to advance security cooperation that was concluded between the two countries in December 2009.

These talks build on the previous round of dialogue held at New Delhi in June 2010. “The two sides briefed the other on their respective defence and security policies in the background of each country’s security environment," the ministry said.

The India-Japan talks come against the backdrop of Tokyo and Beijing being embroiled in an increasingly bitter territorial dispute over an East China Sea archipelago, called the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, which Japan nationalized in mid-September.

India over the weekend observed the fiftieth anniversary of a bruising war with China in 1962 that has resulted in ties being mired in suspicion and a lingering border dispute.

The potential for further expanding India-Japan defence and security partnership got a fillip last year when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda lifted a longstanding national ban on arms exports. Under the new guidelines announced in Tokyo in December—just before a visit to India—Japan can sell weapons and military equipment for use in peace-keeping and peace-building operations. Japanese can also now jointly develop weapons systems and military technology with selected partner nations.

Currently, India’s main defence partners are the US, Israel and France, besides its traditional partner Russia.

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