India and Japan have identified projects in the fields of UAVs, anti-drone systems, robotics, underwater communication, Li-ion battery technology and intelligence systems to boost defence co-operation between them, according to Anurag Bajpai, Joint Secretary (Defence Industries Production) in the Defence Ministry.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will travel to Tokyo on September 8 to participate in the 2 + 2 dialogue between the countries, being organised at a time when China has upped the ante on Taiwan.

Defence industry dialogue

At the maiden virtual India-Japan defence industry dialogue, it was noted that the “defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is in talks with two Japanese companes, Toshiba Corporation for Li-Ion battery technology and Jupitor Corporation for the supply of an Anti Drone Systems,” said sources. The dialogue was organised by the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), the apex body of the Indian defence industry, and the International Security Industrial Council — Japan.

Sources also said the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA), the research and development arm of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and Defence Research and Development Organisation of the Indian Defence Ministry, have collaborated in fields such as the UGV/ robotics project, silicon carbide (SiC) single crystal bulk growth, wafer fabrication process technology, underwater communication, underwater wireless power transmission, fabrication facility for the development of case less brushless micro motors, nano uncooled thermal cameras for nano UAVs, co-operative and distributive intelligence technologies. etc.

High-tech defence systems

The Defence Ministry Officer also talked about a range of high-tech defence systems for air, land, sea and space applications that would interest Japanese industries.

The Indian ambassador to Japan, Sanjay Kumar Verma, joined the dialogue to invite Tokyo to take up schemes under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme and two defence corridors in UP and Tamil Nadu. Referring to the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Co-operation (JWGDETC), Verma suggested the two industry bodies expedite the progress on mutually identified dual-use items and technologies. “Around 23 Indian companies had expressed an interest in dual-use items and the process of interaction between Indian and Japanese companies has started. However, the progress of interaction has been slow and there is a need to facilitate companies for regular and frequent interactions, especially in the initial stages,” the ambassador said on the outcome of the fifth JWGDETC.

Self-reliance initiatives

The Japanese Ambassador to India, Satoshi Suzuki, shared his country’s interest in participating in self-reliance initiatives through co-development, co-design and co-manufacture, including manufacturing under Make in India, said SIDM sources, who participated in the event.

Interestingly, Suzuki said Japan, currently developing a successor to the F-2 aircraft that will be retired in the mid-2030s, can assist India in developing an indigenous fifth-generation stealth fighter and future generation naval vessels and submarines.

The Chairman of SIDM International and Exports Committee, Neeraj Gupta, said the two regional powers, with similar goals and values, can also pool resources to develop technologies of the future such as on artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things, among others.