In a strong gesture of support to India and subsequent rebuttal of Chinese expansionist intensions, Japanese ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki on Friday said Japan was opposed to any unilateral action to change the status quo along the India-China border.

Japan is one of the members of the “Quad” — a group which also includes India, the US and Australia — that has been keen on ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free from any kind of dispute.

In a statement on June 18, the Japanese foreign ministry had said: “The Government of Japan’s position is that it is closely monitoring the situation, as it may have an impact on regional stability. The Government of Japan hopes that this situation will be resolved peacefully through dialogue between the concerned parties.”

Meanwhile, Russia has reiterated its commitment to strengthening the bilateral special strategic partnership with India. Indian PM Narendra Modi was the first world leader to speak to Putin after Russian voters approved changes to the constitution that will allow Putin to hold power until 2036.

The telephonic conversation between PM Modi and Putin came against the backdrop of the Indian government approving to acquire 33 new combat jets from Russia, including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s.

Modi pointed to an Indian tri-services contingent’s participation in the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on June 24 as a symbol of the abiding friendship between the people of India and Russia. Putin thanked Modi for the phone call.

The leaders agreed to maintain the momentum of bilateral contacts and consultations, leading up to the annual bilateral summit to be held in India this year, and Modi conveyed his keenness to welcome Putin for the meeting.

Russia has played a key behind-the-scenes role in efforts to reduce tensions between India and China following the standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Its leadership has said the reduction of tensions is necessary for regional security and stability.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, who also participated in the Victory Day parade in Moscow last week, said after meetings with top Russian leaders that he had been assured that all ongoing contracts for military supplies would proceed as scheduled and be completed expeditiously, despite the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

People familiar with developments said this includes the $5.4-billion contract for five S-400 missile defence systems, which are expected to be delivered from the middle of next year. Russia accounts for more than 60% of the military hardware used by the Indian armed forces.

On Thursday, the defence ministry approved a proposal to acquire 33 new combat jets, including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s, and the upgrade of 59 MiG-29s at a total cost of Rs 18,148 crore.

“Addressing the long-felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the DAC [Defence Acquisition Council] also approved the proposal for procurement of 21 MiG-29 along with an upgrade of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft,” the defence ministry said in a statement.


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