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NEW DELHI: At a time when India and China are locked in a significant troop confrontation in japanese Ladakh, Indian and Japanese warships held a small exercise in direction of the Malacca Strait within the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on Saturday.
Indian warships patrolling the area, Rajput-class destroyer INS Rana and Kora-class missile corvette INS Kulish, took half within the exercise with JS Shimayuki and JS Kashima from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force’s coaching squadron. Though it was “largely a PASSEX (passing exercise)”, it positively quantities to some strategic signaling for China, mentioned sources.
India-China stand-off: Complete coverage
Three American plane carriers, USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz, by the way, are additionally at the moment deployed in the Pacific Ocean for the primary time in recent times, in a transfer that has not gone down nicely with China. Japan has change into a daily participant within the high-voltage “Malabar” naval fight exercise between India and the US since 2015, with the three international locations caring about China’s aggressive muscle-flexing within the Indo-Pacific area, particularly within the South China Sea. The exercise is slated to be held within the Bay of Bengal later this 12 months.
Cranking up their bilateral navy ties, India and Japan have additionally kicked off an annual joint land navy exercise named “Dharma Guardian” since 2018. The two international locations, after holding their first “two-plus-two” defence and international ministerial dialogue in November final 12 months, are additionally now finalising a reciprocal navy logistics pact to additional strengthen their strategic partnership.

India has already inked such pacts with the US, France, South Korea, Singapore and Australia to increase its naval operational attain to counter China’s increasing footprint within the IOR, which is witnessing common forays by PLA warships and submarines.
China had strongly objected to the India-US Malabar exercise within the Bay of Bengal in 2007 when it was expanded to incorporate Japan, Australia and Singapore. India had then restricted Malabar to a bilateral one with the US for a number of years, together with Japan solely when the exercise was held within the north-western Pacific in 2009 and 2014, to keep away from antagonising China.India
Watch India, Japan conduct naval exercise amid China row