Indian Navy Chief Arrives In Japan

Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of Indian Navy, arrived in Japan on Monday for a five-day visit.
Upon his arrival in Tokyo, the Indian naval chief said that the main purpose of his visit was to boost bilateral maritime co-operation. Admiral Lanba, who is scheduled to meet top officials from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Japanese Ministry of Defence, stressed that it became important for both New Delhi and Tokyo to explore new avenues for consolidating the existing maritime co-operation due to the current geo-political landscape in Asia.
In recent years, Japan has emerged as a close defence partner of India, as the two nations have started collaborating on nuclear energy and military co-operation. Admiral Lanba’s official visit coincides with preparations for the next edition of the ‘Malabar Exercise’ in which India, Japan and the US will take part. The Indian Navy chief’s ongoing visit is also significant as he reached Tokyo a couple of days after China installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands built by Beijing in the South China Sea (as claimed by an American think tank after monitoring new satellite imagery).
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy said in a statement that Admiral Lanba would raise the “South China Sea” issue during his meeting with the Japanese Navy chief, defence minister and the chief of Joint Staff. As Indo-Japan defence co-operation is primarily focused towards maritime co-operation, discussion on the aggressive posturing of the Chinese Navy in East Asia and South China Sea will take place in Tokyo. In fact, China’s aggressive policy has compelled both India and Japan to formulate a joint maritime strategy.
Moreover, India and Japan share similar maritime challenges, like long coastline, extensive Exclusive Economic Zone, coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet. Also, both the Navies are eager to learn from each other’s experiences.
Earlier this year, Chief of Japan Maritime Self Defence Force Admiral Tomohisa Takei had described India as an “important” country in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), saying that New Delhi would have to take responsibility for security in the area. He also said that India, because of its geographical location, could easily take responsibility for peace and security in the IOR – from East Africa to the South China Sea.

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