Defence Minister Rajnath to begin 5-day visit to Mongolia, Japan on Monday

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will begin a five-day visit to Mongolia and Japan from Monday to expand India’s defense and security ties with the two countries.

In Japan, Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will engage with their Japanese counterparts as part of a ‘2+2’ foreign and defense ministerial-level dialogue, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Singh will visit Mongolia from September 5 to 7 while his visit to Japan will be from September 8-9.

It is learned that the ‘2+2’ dialogue is planned on September 8.

The dialogue is taking place five months after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited India for the annual India-Japan summit.

At the summit in New Delhi, Kishida announced an investment target of five trillion yen (Rs 3,20,000 crore) in India over the next five years.

In the 2+2 talks, the two sides are expected to take stock of developments in the Indo-Pacific region, besides discussing ways to further enhance bilateral cooperation in the areas of defense and security, the people cited above said.

The Japanese delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

The talks are scheduled for about three weeks before the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on 27 September.

The ‘2+2’ dialogue with Japan was launched in 2019 to further deepen bilateral security and defense cooperation and to deepen the special strategic and global partnership between the two countries.

India has a ‘2+2’ ministerial format of talks with very few countries including the US, Japan, Australia, and Russia. India’s defense and security ties with Mongolia are also getting stronger.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mongolia in May 2015, giving a new impetus to relations in various fields, including defense and security.

During the visit, India announced a US$ 1 billion line of credit to Mongolia for infrastructure development and upgraded its ties to a strategic partnership.

Joint Indo-Mongolia military exercise ‘Nomadic Hathi’ is held annually.

The last two editions of the exercise were conducted in September 2018 in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and in October 2019 in Himachal Pradesh.

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