Amid growing Chinese military muscle-resilience in the disputed South China Sea, the Malabar naval exercise of Indian, American and Japanese navies will begin off the coast of Japan on Thursday.
Officials said that during the nine-day exercise, the three navies would conduct complex maritime operations in the surface, subsurface and airborne domains, with a special focus on anti-submarine warfare.
A large number of aircraft, naval ships, and submarines of all three navies will be part of the annual exercise, which is considered a major war game of the region.
The 23rd edition of the exercise takes place during a major standoff between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea.
On 4 July, the Chinese survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8, survived by a large number of ships, began maritime seismic surveys near several offshore oil blocks that, according to Vietnam, fall within its Special Economic Zone.
Vietnamese diplomatic sources said Chinese ships came close to areas where ONGC has oil exploration projects in India.
The Defense Ministry said that the Malabar exercise, which starts on Thursday, will seek to further strengthen naval cooperation and inter-capability between the navies of India, Japan, and the US.
It said two border Indian naval ships – the Guided-Missile Frigate Sahyadri and the anti-submarine warfare Corvette Kiltan – are participating in the exercise.
In addition to the ships, a ‘P8I’ long-range maritime patrol aircraft will also be part of the Indian platforms in the drill.
“The exercise will involve the operation of complex maritime operations in the surface, subsurface and air domains, and will focus on anti-submarine warfare, anti-air, and anti-surface firing,” an official said.
The US Navy is being represented by the USS McCampbell, a Los Angeles-class assault submarine and ‘P8A’ long-range maritime patrol aircraft.
Source: Economic Times