India and Japan on 8 May 2017 affirmed plans to strengthen their defence cooperation amid rising tension in the Asian region. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley during his visit to Japan informed his Japanese counterpart, Tomomi Inada that India hopes to pursue a strategic partnership with Japan for regional peace and stability. His visit comes at a time of rising tension in the region, including territorial rows in the South China Sea and nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
Besides, Jaitley also welcomed a planned trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, India and Japan in July 2017 as a way of strengthening defence cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Jaitley, who also holds Finance portfolio, visited Japan to attend an annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank that ended on 7 May 2017. India–Japan relations have traditionally been strong as people of the two nations have been engaged in cultural exchanges since centuries.
The exchanges can be linked to Buddhism. Besides, the two nations, which are the oldest and largest democracies in Asia, have a high degree of congruence of economic, political and strategic interests. India is the largest recipient of Japanese official development assistance (ODA). As of 2013, bilateral trade between India and Japan stood at US$16.31 billion and is expected to reach US$50 billion by 2019-20. India and Japan were enemies in World War II, but political relations between the two nations have remained warm since India’s independence.