Somalilandsun: The Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) expected to be concluded at next month’s annual summit between PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe would give the Indian Navy access to the Japanese military base in Djibouti and the Japanese Navy access to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The ACSA (commonly referred to as Mutual Logistics Services Pact) would permit the Indian Navy access to a Japanese base in Djibouti. The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JSDF) would be permitted to use India’s military installations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ET has reliably gathered. India currently has such pacts with the US, Australia, France and is likely to sign one with Russia later this year.
Delhi has since long been keen to get a presence in Djibouti as part of its Indian Ocean outreach.
Djibouti, wedged between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, is a natural gatekeeper to a vital and extremely bustling sea-lane. The base in Djibouti is the JSDF’s first full-scale, long term overseas base.
Similarly, Andaman and Nicobar is critical for the Japanese Navy in the Bay of Bengal region. The ACSA aims to expand Indo-Japanese strategic partnership amid an ambitious China whose aggression has unnerved many countries in Asia.
Indo-Japanese defence ties have been growing over the past few years. At the end of the bilateral 2018 summit meeting in Tokyo attended by the two leaders, both countries had agreed to begin formal negotiations on ACSA.
“The two leaders welcomed the joint exercise between each of the three services and the commencement of negotiations on the ACSA, which will enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation,” according to the joint statement issued after the 2018 summit.
The joint statement said, “recognising that enhanced exchanges in expanding maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indo-Pacific region contributes to regional peace and stability, they welcomed the signing of the Implementing Arrangement for deeper cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force.”
ACSA will require the armed forces of India and Japan to help each other with logistic support, including food, water, billet, transport, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communications, medical services, base support, storage, use of facilities, training services, spare parts, repair and maintenance and airport and seaport services.
Widening the scope of Indo-Pacific partnership, including third country projects, are also on the cards, ET has learnt. Japan has decided to increase its investments in two of India’s key neighbours –– Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Increase in Japanese FDI into India, including Japanese companies planning to shift to India from China, and incentives for these business enterprises will be discussed by the two leaders at the Summit, sources informed.
Simultaneously, India and Japan will work to have technology companies build platforms that help emerging nations put government services online, taking ideas from Delhi’s all-in-one digital infrastructure which allows access to various public services.
Abe was scheduled to travel last December for the annual summit but had to postpone it due to protests in Guwahati. He had planned to visit Delhi in April which was postponed due to Covid.
By DIPANJAN ROY CHAUDHURY for The Economic Times.