India and Japan deepen industrial engagement

21 August 2018

India and Japan have said they are looking to expand defence industrial ties, despite the former’s planned procurement of ShinMaywa’s US-2 search-and-rescue aircraft remaining stalled. Source: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Key Points

  • India and Japan have outlined efforts to expand collaboration on defence development and production
  • No progress has been reported on India’s potential US-2 acquisition but the two countries have started a joint project to develop UGVs

India and Japan have pledged to expand collaboration on defence technologies and production. Following meetings in New Delhi on 20 August between India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her visiting counterpart from Japan, Itsunori Onodera, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) highlighted a range of defence industrial initiatives under way between the two countries.

However, the Indian Navy’s long-considered programme to procure ShinMaywa Industries’ US-2 search-and-rescue aircraft appears no closer to being finalised.

These include a joint working group on defence equipment and technology co-operation and engagement between the MoD’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Japan’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistical Agency (ATLA).

The former is geared towards identifying specific areas for collaboration, while the latter – framed by an agreement signed earlier this year – has resulted in the two countries embarking on their first co-operative defence project, the development of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and robotics.

The MoD added that representatives from Japanese defence companies recently visited Indian defence enterprises as a follow-up to the country’s initial defence industry forum in September 2017, which was intended to promote interaction between Japanese companies and public and private firms in India.

Commenting on these various initiatives, the MoD said, “The ministers commended that such efforts contribute to the deepening of mutual understanding between the defence industries of the two countries and to the prospect of future bilateral projects.” According to the MoD, Sitharaman also invited Japanese companies to invest in India’s programme to develop defence industrial corridors in the north and south of the country.

Despite the deepening defence industrial ties, the MoD statement made only passing reference to India’s potential procurement of the US-2 aircraft.

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