Agency New Delhi: Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat will embark on a four-day visit to Japan beginning Tuesday with an aim to explore short term and long term steps to expand bilateral military cooperation. Officials said the Army Chief, accompanied by a delegation, will hold talks with top brass of Japan Self Defence Force on further expanding defence and security ties in the wake of evolving regional security scenario. Gen Rawat will also meet Defence Minister Taro Kono during which key issues of mutual interests would be discussed, they said. The visit by the Army Chief comes days after India and Japan held their inaugural first foreign and defence ministerial dialogue to further expand strategic and defence ties. The talks took place on Saturday during which both sides discussed a raft of strategic issues including the latest developments in the disputed South China Sea, evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region and ways to boost bilateral cooperation in co-development of military hardware. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar led the Indian delegation while the Japanese was headed by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Minister of Defence Kono. In the talks, the two sides also deliberated on the negotiations for the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which would allow the two countries to use each other’s military logistics. The Army Chief, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, will also visit niche field formations and interact with troops of Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF). The JGSDF had recently participated in the bilateral exercise Dharma Guardian at Vairengte, Mizoram.
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