With Japan’s export policy being liberalised in recent years, allowing the country to export defence equipment, India is planning to import amphibious aircraft from Japan, said Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet. An amphibious aircraft can take off from both land and water and contenders like ShinMaywa US-2 of the Japanese navy can be used for rescue operations from air to sea. Admiral Tripathi hinted at the possibility of India importing amphibious aircraft from Japan during an interaction with reporters on board the INS Sahyadri, at which he also announced the commencement of the Japan-India maritime exercise (Jimex 18). Concurring with Rear Admiral Tripathi, Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukada, Commander, Escort Flotilla-4 (CCF-4), representing the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), said, “We are looking for special strategic and global partnership with Indian maritime force, which has a high-end navy, so as to enhance peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. We are here to establish maritime security in this region, including the Indian Ocean. We also want to promote cooperation and inter-operability between the two navies. Japan is seeking active laws for security in the region.” When asked about the potential challenge from Chinese navy, Rear Admiral Tripathi said, “The Chinese navy is growing commensurate with their economy. They are doing as per their national interest. And we are also monitoring deployment of their platforms here. We are a well-balanced multi-dimensional force, well poised to take on any challenge and can operate on land, air and sea.” Elaborating on the close co-operation between the two navies, both rear admiral Tripathi and his counterpart Mr Fukada mentioned the maritime affairs dialogues, at the political level, with the defence minister and Prime Minister-level between Japan and India. Staff talks, port calls are also conducted routinely, besides joint naval exercises such as the recently concluded Malabar and Rimpac 2018. Another area where the two countries are closely cooperating is counter piracy operations. “Last year, the Indian Navy helped us during a counter-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden and we are patrolling such pirate-infested stretches in collaboration with the Indian Navy,” Rear Admiral Fukada said. For the nine-day Jimex 18, being held in harbour and sea phase in Visakhapatnam, Japanese multipurpose frigate Kaga and Inazuma — a guided missile destroyer — are participating. The Indian Navy will be represented by indigenously designed and built warships including INS Sahyadri, anti-submarine warfare corvette, INS Kadmatt, INS Krich, and fleet tanker INS Shakti. In addition, one submarine, P8I long range maritime patrol aircraft, a submarine and a number of helicopters would also be participating in the exercise. The Indian ships would be under the command of Rear Admiral Tripathi.