Japanese troops may train with Australian troops: Gillard

April 23rd, 2011 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Canberra, April 23 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Saturday Japanese troops could be allowed to train in Australian defence units under a new vision for greater military co-operation by both the countries.

Last year, Japan’s Defence Minister Toshimi Kitizawa was keen for Japanese troops to draw on the combat experience that Australian soldiers have gained in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, The Weekend Australian stated.

Gillard, who is in Tokyo, said though she was yet to receive a formal proposal, but supported the idea being discussed by the defence and foreign ministers of each country.

“I am open to the idea being explored as part of this process that we have outlined,” Xinhua quoted Gillard as saying to The Weekend Australian.

“We would need to work it through and see what request Japan might or might not make of us. We do have good links and partnerships at the moment and so we are looking to build on that with this vision of defence co-operation bilaterally for the future. We are in a region with reasons for defence co-operation.”

Tokyo seeks to strengthen its combat readiness in response to the growing threat from the North Korea.

The two countries, during Gillard’s visit, have already signed a resupply and cross-servicing pact that allows the forces to operate closely during disasters or peacekeeping operations.

Both the countries are also eyeing a pact to share intelligence.

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