The first ever Indian and Japanese maritime training exercise will be held later on in 2012, it's emerged.
In an unprecedented move, members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Indian Navy will demonstrate joint cooperation in simulated combat settings, potentially better-preparing both organisations for real-life hostilities.
The exercise was arranged during a meeting between Japanese and Indian officials and, while no specific timeframe or location's been announced, the exercise will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the formal start of Indian-Japanese diplomacy in 1952. It will also be staged as fresh new concerns over the state of China's armed forces are emerging.
Naval Training Exercise
"We will discuss maritime affairs with a special focus on maritime security", Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba told journalists on the eve of the naval training exercise announcement. "India is actually situated at an important place on the sea lanes of the communication which links Japan with West Asia. So, I cannot overlook the geo-political significance of the location of India."
The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force was established to replace the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was disbanded following WW2. Tasked with maintaining authority in Japan's sea lanes and patrolling those that surround it, it's comprised of some 45,000 serving personnel, 16 submarines, 30 frigates, eight destroyers and numerous other vessels.
It also has in service a wide range of aircraft including Agusta Westland AW101 transport helicopters, Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrollers and, uniquely, indigenous ShinMaywa US-1 and US-2 rescue flying boats.
The Indian Navy's been active since 1947 and has something close to 59,000 serving personnel. In addition, it has a mixture of submarines, destroyers and frigates and, being the last nation to now operate the Sea Harrier FRS1 - an airborne strike capability, too.
Indian and Japanese Navies
"We expressed satisfaction that the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership is stronger than ever before", said S.M Krishna - the Indian External Affairs Minister, after the Indian and Japanese navy exercise had been announced.
"We agreed to launch two new dialogue mechanisms between the two Foreign Ministries. The first is a cyber-security dialogue: the second, a maritime dialogue. They will further deepen our relations."