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Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Anil Chauhan embarks on Japan visit

NEW DELHI (PTI): Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan on Sunday night left for Japan to hold talks with the top military brass there on a host of issues including the situation in the South China Sea and ways to boost overall maritime security cooperation against the backdrop of China's increasing military muscle-flexing in the strategic waters.

During Gen Chauhan's visit, both sides will also explore ways to expand defence industrial cooperation and to share new technologies, officials said.

The Defence Ministry said the aim of the visit is to further reinforce the robust defence ties between the two nations and that it underscores the growing importance of India-Japan defence cooperation.

It is expected that the respective situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea will be reviewed in talks between Gen Chauhan and his Japanese interlocutors in Tokyo.

While the South China Sea is strategically important for India, Japan and China have had long-standing tensions over the East China Sea.

Gen Chauhan is scheduled to meet Defence Minister Minoru Kihara, Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff of Japan Self-Defence Forces Gen Yoshida Yoshihide and Commissioner of Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) Fukasawa Masaki.

The Chief of Defence Staff is scheduled to interact with senior military leadership of Japan and will visit defence formations and establishments, the MoD said.

Gen Chauhan will also visit the Hiroshima peace park besides paying "special tributes" at the Mahatma Gandhi statue towards enhancing peace and tranquillity in the region, the Ministry said.

In addition, he will interact with the faculty and research scholars at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) and also visit various military establishments.

"The meetings and interactions will be aimed to foster mutual understanding, exchanging views on regional security, contribution towards strengthening bilateral defence cooperation as well as cooperation in the field of defence equipment and technology," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Gen Chauhan is also scheduled to visit some units of Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) and will interact with Commander-in-Chief of the JMSDF fleet at the Funakoshi base.

"India and Japan celebrate 71 years of diplomatic ties in 2023. This visit underscores the commitment of both nations to strengthen the special Strategic and Global Partnership," the Ministry said.

"Demonstrating the enduring camaraderie that has flourished between India and Japan over the past 70 years, the visit will further boost bilateral cooperation on a host of strategic issues, particularly in defence collaboration," it said.

There is no official word on the length of Gen Chauhan's visit to Japan.

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