India holds naval exercise with Japan amid stand-off with China

(Source: Twitter @jmsdf_pao_eng)

New Delhi (NVI): Amid the border tensions between India and China running high, the Indian and Japanese Navies conducted a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean yesterday to develop mutual understanding with each other.

Four warships, two from each side, participated in the maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean. Japanese Ship (JS) Kashima and JS Shimayuki conducted the exercise with Indian Naval Ship (INS) Rana and INS Kulish.

“27 JUN, JS KASHIMA (TV 3508) and JS SHIMAYUKI (TV 3513), the JMSDF Training Squadron, conducted an exercise with INS RANA and INS KULISH, Indian Navy at the Indian Ocean. JMSDF promoted mutual understanding with the Indian Navy through this exercise,” tweeted Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Japanese ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki also tweeted today on Naval exercise between the two navies. “On 27th June, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force conducted goodwill training with Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean,” he wrote on the microblogging site.

India and Japan navies have earlier also participated in the naval exercises like the Malabar Exercise, which included the United States navy as well. However, yesterday’s exercise in the Indian Ocean is clearly a strong signal against the heightened Chinese aggression at Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

There has been an escalation in tensions between India and China after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the violent clashes at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15. While Japan has condoled the loss of Indian lives in Galwan face-off, it has categorically not said anything ob the Chinese casualties.

Japan has been a witness to the Chinese aggression on its border with India as it has itself upgraded its Navy in recent years due to territorial disputes with Beijing. Japan is also one of the few countries that supported India during the 2017 Doklam standoff.

China is also looking to seize areas in Taiwan, as it has been reportedly eyeing the Dongsha Islands of Taiwan, which are a group of strategically important atolls 310 kms southeast of Hong Kong. Taiwan has deployed its Marine Corps to the islands for training and defence.

On Friday, a Chinese fighter plane briefly entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), the local media reported, highlighting the increasing Chinese military activity in the region.

In April this year, the US also asked China to stop its ‘bullying behaviour’ in the South China sea and said it was concerned by reports of Beijing’s provocative behaviour. reportedly, Beijing’s actions are aimed at offshore oil and gas developments in the disputed waters.

In the past few weeks, the US and Australian warships have reportedly also conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea close to the West Capella.

On Saturday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said that a 1982 UN oceans treaty should be the basis of sovereign rights and entitlements in the South China Sea. The group has strongly opposed China’s claim to virtually the entire disputed waters on historical grounds.

-ARK