India's Defence Minister To Push Talks On Amphibious Aircraft Sale During Japan Visit

  • Pinaki Bhattacharya
  • 08:59 AM, March 26, 2015
  • 3011

The defence relations agreement between India and Japan appear to be in a limbo despite the push it received from the two prime ministers during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tokyo in September last.

Now that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is about to reach the Japanese capital for a visit Monday next for a couple of days, sources say that he would be carrying quite a few unresolved queries on various subjects including the proposed sale of amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy.

That deal is stuck even though the subject came up to the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Parrikar, last month. The DAC had reportedly failed to take a decision about acquisition of the aircrafts because it needed, sources say, “some more clarifications.”

Plus, there is a Japanese commitment for helping in the fuller development of aerospace sector in India. That too is stuck because of a lack of direction and clarity.

This is despite, the two prime ministers asserting the importance of defence relations between India and Japan within the rubric of the strategic partnership between the two countries and deciding to upgrade and strengthen it,” a joint statement issued by the two prime ministers after their talks had stated in September, 2014.

The two sides had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence during Prime Minister Modi’s five-day visit.

The navy is keen that it acquires the amphibious planes. In fact, the deal if completed would be a landmark sale as Japan would be selling defence items for the first time after five decades. The Japanese Parliament, the Diet, had to amend the nation’s Constitution for the sale.

The demand for 15 such planes were made by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The RFP was issued in March, 2013 and three companies had bid: Russian Bariev, Canada's Bombardier and the ShinMayWa.

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