Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Kadmatt reached Japan’s Sasebo on Thursday, and will be there till October 15 in pursuance of India’s ‘Act East Policy’, an official statement said.
“The visit of these ships is part the Indian Government’s initiatives to strengthen the long standing, mutually supportive and strong relationship between Japan and India. This historic relationship spans across the entire spectrum of engagement between both countries – cultural, spiritual, economic and security,” the statement said.
The visiting Indian Naval ships will engage with the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force in formal calls, and professional, social and sporting interactions will be held.
After completion of the harbour phase, the ships will take part in Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Murusame Class destroyer, JS Kirisame.
Since the first ‘Navy to Navy Staff Talks’ between the two nations in November 2008, naval ties have reached new heights with bilateral and multilateral exercises and enhanced cooperation in information sharing, meteorology and oceanography, disaster management and military training, the statement said.
The defence and security interaction between both countries has since expanded to encompass a Defence Policy Dialogue and a Maritime Affairs Dialogue.
Regular bilateral and multilateral maritime exercises have been the foundation for strong naval relations.
The erstwhile Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) led to Japan participating in the ‘Malabar’ exercise along with US and India since 2014.
JMSDF Ships Izumo and Sazanami participated in the recently concluded edition of Malabar off Chennai.
Both navies have participated in each other’s International Fleet Reviews (IFR) by deputing ships and high level delegations – while INS Sahyadri participated in the IFR at Yokosuka in October 2015, JS Matsuyuki participated in the IFR at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.
The Indian Navy and JMSDF also have strong bilateral defence training cooperation, including at very senior levels. Further, in order to enhance interoperability and understanding, seminars and short term exchange programmes are conducted regularly in both countries with participation from both navies.
“Both navies look forward to enhanced cooperation in the fields of military technology, white shipping, training, intelligence sharing, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and exchange of subject matter experts in various fields,” the statement said.
“With relations between both countries at an all time high and more avenues under consideration, the future looks promising with safer sea lanes and highly modernised navies helping in fulfilling each other’s obligations,” it added.
In September, then Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had visited Japan for a bilateral defence dialogue, and in the same month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also visited India.