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First ever India-Japan Space Dialogue: Both countries to focus on surveillance and maritime awareness

Huma Siddiqui
India, Japan, Space Dialogue, news

At the first ever India-Japan Space Dialogue, space agencies of the two countries Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) focused on Surveillance and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) of the waters in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

With China already making impressive strides in the space sector, both India and Japan are getting closer and seeking higher cooperation in critical sectors.

The space industries of the two countries also focused on global navigation satellite system, space situational awareness (SSA), space security and space-related norms. This dialogue brought together ministries and agencies related to outer space in the two countries and provided an opportunity for information exchange on the respective space policies.

While the Indian delegation was led by Indra Mani Pandey, Additional Secretary for Disarmament and International Security Affairs, MEA, and the Japanese delegation was co-led by Kansuke Nagaoka, Deputy Assistant Minister, Foreign Policy Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs /Ambassador (Policy Planning & International Security Policy) and Shuzo Takada, Director General, National Space Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office.

The Japan-India Space Dialogue was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in October in 2018 at the end of the annual summit of both countries. The two countries have their own systems for monitoring satellite images and ship movements in the oceans, as the information is critical for national security as well as coastal security of the two countries.

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The Asian geopolitical competition characterized by the simultaneous rise of three Asian powers is a strong imperative for the deepening partnership between the Indian and Japanese space agencies, Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Head, Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, had observed in an earlier interaction with Financial Express Online.

The two sides through their cooperative efforts would possibly have a better chance of effecting some changes in the emerging Asian space security dynamics. Surveillance and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) of the waters in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean will likely remain focus areas in the bilateral space collaboration.

Both ISRO and JAXA have had the second Joint Working Group meeting in Sept 2018 to discuss cooperation areas and acknowledged the importance of monitoring the importance of the Outer Space and oceans.

As reported earlier, India is dependent on the US satellite imagery for the movement of Chinese troops along its borders and with this new Space dialogue between the two countries, India is looking at others to gather information.

Most of the countries including Japan have inked the white shipping information exchange agreements with India, around 21 are Indian Navy s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) partners. The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude White Shipping Information Exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national constructs.