India and Japan are co-developing cutting edge technology that will guide, drive and control unmanned ground vehicles and also robotics for military use. The matter is being discussed by the Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC).
The project had cropped up for review and discussion during the recent 2+2 dialogue between the two countries in New Delhi on November 30. This was the first India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi. Indian Defence Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar represented India while Japan was represented by its Foreign Affairs Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, and Minister of Defense Kono Taro.
“The Ministers welcomed the progress on cooperative research in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/ Robotics,” a joint statement said.
What is this technology: New Delhi and Tokyo have signed a project arrangement concerning the cooperative research on the Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) that would be based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). It would augment technology for control and movement of unmanned ground vehicles and robotics.
Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistical Agency (ATLA) and India’s Department of Defence Production (DDP) have tied up. Technical discussions involving the ALTA and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been done
First cooperation in research: This is the first- ever cooperative research arrangement between the two defence ministries after the bilateral agreement on the transfer of defence equipment and technology of 2016.
The India-Japan Defence Industry Forum was instituted in 2017, and this project is part of it
“The Ministers emphasized the need to further strengthen the defence equipment and technology cooperation,” the joint statement said.
The India-Japan Vision 2025: Within the framework of India-Japan Vision 2025, the political leadership has designed an ‘action-oriented partnership’, which, among other things, urged defence technology cooperation including co-development and co-production. India’s objective is to benefit from Japan’s technological prowess in its pursuit of defence modernisation and diversifying its sources of acquisition.
Japan’s goal is to revive its defence industry as it comes out of the decades-old export ban by participating in international joint development and production projects. It has well outlined defence production and technology as per the June 2014 Strategy on Defence Production and Technological Bases.
The Strategy refers to fostering cooperation with India as well as with the US, European countries including UK and France, Australia and Southeast Asian nations.