Tri-nation Malabar drill starts

The week-long trilateral Malabar Naval exercise has begun with 16 ships, including many frontline warships, and 95 aircraft of India, the US and Japan participating in the drill in the Bay of Bengal.
This is the 21st edition of the exercise, which started as a bilateral between India and US and now has Japan as a permanent participant. “Malabar-2017 will be another milestone with participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft, towards strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies,“ a statement from the Indian Navy said.

The exercise comes amid reports of Chinese warships carrying out “anti-piracy operations“ in the Indian Ocean Region, and Beijing's aggressive posturing in the South China Sea. “Naval cooperation between India, the US and Japan epitomises the strong and resilient relationship between the three democracies. The Malabar series of exercises, initiated in 1992 between the Indian and US Navies, have steadily grown in scope, complexity and participation into a multifaceted exercise with the participation of Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force,“ the Indian Navy said in a statement on Monday .

“The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations,“ the Indian Navy said.

This year, there are five ships from the US, including aircraft carrier USS Nimitz with Carrier Air Wing 11, a submarine, and P-8A Poseidon aircraft. India will have seven ships, including aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with its air wing, guided missile destroyer Ranvir, indigenous stealth frigates Shivalik and Sahyadri, indigenous anti-submarine warfare corvette Kamorta, missile corvettes Kora and Kirpan, one Sindhughosh class submarine, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I.

Japan has two ships including helicopter carrier JS Izumo.

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