The US, India and Japan on Monday (July 10) began their eight-day long joint naval exercises in the southern Chennai city to deepen maritime ties.
Temed ‘Malabar’, the exercises would conclude on July 17.
Malabar is a complex, high-end warfighting exercise that has grown in scope and complexity over the years.
Commander-in-Chief, India’s Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral, Harish Bisht said the exercises would include aircraft carrier operations and tactical procedures.
According to a government release, the Indian Navy will be represented by aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, indigenous Anti-submarine warfare corvette Kamorta, and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I among others.
Tokyo has been involved in the drills off and on in recent years when these have been held in the Pacific, but the three governments have now agreed to formalise it.
Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Vice-Admiral Yamamura said that Malabar would further increase the already growing defence cooperation between the three countries.
The U.S. Navy will be represented by guided missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS Howard, destroyer USS Shoup, and destroyer USS Kidd.
India and the US have been conducting the Malabar exercise since 1992.
India last hosted a multilateral exercise in 2007 when it invited Japan, Australia and Singapore to join its drills with the U.S. navy in the Bay of Bengal, prompting disquiet in Beijing where some saw it as a U.S.-inspired security grouping in the making along the lines of NATO in Europe.
The Indian Ocean has emerged as a new arena of competition between China making inroads and India trying to recover its position as the dominant maritime power in the region.