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Japanese Defence Minister arrives in India, to hold talks with Sitharaman

NEW DELHI (PTI): Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit with an aim to further strengthen military cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the maritime sphere in the wake of China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean.

He will hold talks with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday covering a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interests, official sources said.

Interestingly, his visit comes two days ahead of Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe's four-day trip here. Wei is scheduled to arrive here on Tuesday.

Sources said Sitharaman and Onodera are also expected to review the situation in the Korean peninsula and explore ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in the Indian Ocean where China has been ramping up its presence.

They are likely to deliberate on the proposed joint exercise, between Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and the Indian Army, later this year.

Sitharaman and her Japanese counterpart are also likely to exchange views on India's long-pending proposal to procure the US-2 ShinMaywa amphibious aircraft from Japan for its Navy.

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