India and Japan will discuss the possible joint production of the Japanese company ShinMaywa's US-2 amphibious aircraft during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Tokyo visit Aug. 30-Sept. 3. (AFP)
NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Japan will include talks on possible joint production of amphibious aircraft and other matters related to strategic and defense ties between the two countries.
Modi, who leads a new government here, personally extended his stay in Japan from a planned four days to five, beginning Aug. 30. He will be accompanied by a 20 high-ranking officials of all Indian industry, signaling the importance the new government places on ties with Japan, a source in India’s External Affairs Ministry said.
India and Japan propose to begin an early resumption of trilateral strategic talks with the US, the source added. Tokyo has been cautious toward a proposal, first mooted in 2009, to begin the trilateral talks, fearing they could upset Beijing, the External Affairs Ministry source said.
India wants a trilateral dialogue with Japan and the US to help contain the spread of Chinese influence in the region, defense analyst Nitin Mehta said.
During Modi’s visit, the Indian and Japanese officials also are likely to discuss the possibility of jointly producing US-2 long-range amphibious aircraft, manufactured by Japan’s ShinMaywa, a Ministry of Defense official said.
With a range of 4,500 kilometers, US-2s can be used to protect India’s “strategic interests,” the MoD official added, but refused to elaborate.
An Indian Air Force official said the US-2 aircraft could be placed at the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian Ocean, the base of India’s Tri-Command, which keeps vigil on China and which would spearhead any littoral warfare operation in the Indian Ocean.
The Indian Navy and Air Force in 2011 issued a request for information for the purchase of amphibious aircraft, to which ShinMaywa, Canada’s Bombardier and Russia’s Beriev Aircraft responded. But if Modi is able to strike a US-2 joint production partnership during his visit to Japan, no tender will be floated. ■