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Japan wants India's support on island disputes with China

January 09, 2014 15:33 IST

Engaged in a territorial dispute with China, Japan on Thursday sought to rope in India's support over "the recent Chinese provocative actions" saying a message needs to be sent to it collectively that status quo cannot be changed by force.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said dialogue is the only way to resolve the row created by imposition of restrictions by China in the East China Sea and other areas.

"For both India and Japan, China is an important neighbouring country. Both countries have important economic linkages with China. However, after the recent Chinese provocative actions, entire international community will have to send a message to China," he told PTI in an interview in New Delhi.

"Both Japan and India should ask for a dialogue with the Chinese side and tell China not to change status quo by force. These issues should be solved through dialogue and following international rules," the minister said.

He was responding when asked whether India and Japan could come together on issues with China as both the countries have territorial disputes with it.

The security situation in the region against the backdrop of recent tensions between Japan and China triggered by imposition of 'Air Defence Identification Zone' over East China Sea and other areas by China came up during talks between Onodera and his Indian counterpart A K Antony on Monday.

During the meeting, Antony is understood to have told Onodera that India stands for freedom of navigation in international waters and application of global conventions.

After the ADIZ started creating tensions in the South East Asian region, India had stated that the issue should be resolved between the concerned parties through dialogue in  a peaceful way and it was against use of force to resolve the matters.

Asked about an earlier proposal by Tokyo for forming a trilateral grouping of India, Japan and the United States to deal with challenges from China, Onodera said, "India and Japan have good ties with the US. Economically and internationally and in terms of military forces, these are big countries."

He said that, "If India, Japan and the US are in cooperation and send a common message to the Chinese side, that would mean a lot."

The Japanese defence minister said his country shares strong ties with both India and the US.

"We share the same interests in safety of sea lanes of communications and to secure the freedom of navigation. Trilaterally, India, Japan and the US should be cooperating in these areas," he said. On his talks with Antony, Onodera said the two countries have decided to enhance their military ties and a number of decisions were taken during the meeting.

The two sides have agreed on cooperation in Peacekeeping Operations between their respective agencies along with cooperation between the Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces and the Indian Army, he said.

The two countries have also decided to conduct staff exchanges and discuss possibility of conducting staff talks between Japan Air Self-Defence Force and Indian Air Force and professional exchanges of test-pilots, professional exchanges in the field of flight safety and between their transport squadrons.

Image: Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh talks to Defence Minister of Japan Itsunori Onodera in New Delhi.

Photograph: PIB

Ajit K Dubey in New Delhi
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