Indian and Japanese navies will hold a three-day mega military exercise from today in the North Arabian Sea to further consolidate their operational convergence, officials said. The exercise is taking place in the backdrop of growing concerns over China’s military muscle flexing in the Indian Ocean Region as well as in the Indo-Pacific.
It will be the first military exercise after the two countries signed a landmark agreement on September 9 that will allow their militaries to access each other’s bases for logistics support.
The officials said the fourth edition of the India-Japan maritime exercise JIMEX will feature a multitude of advanced exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations, in reflection of high degree of inter-operability and joint operational skills.
The JIMEX series of exercises started in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam coast.
“Advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations,” an Indian Navy spokesperson said.
He said multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills will further consolidate coordination between the two navies.
Indigenously built stealth destroyer Chennai, Teg Class stealth frigate Tarkash and fleet tanker Deepak will represent the Indian Navy at the exercise. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will be represented by ships Kaga, an Izumo class helicopter destroyer and Ikazuchi, a guided missile destroyer.
In addition to ships, a fleet of long range maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and fighter aircraft will also be part of the exercise, officials said.
This week, the Indian and Australian navies carried out a two-day mega exercise in the Indian Ocean Region that featured a range of complex naval manoeuvres, anti-aircraft drills and helicopter operations.
In July, the Indian Navy carried out a military exercise with a US Navy carrier strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The USS Nimitz is the world’s largest warship.
In the exercise with the US Navy, four frontline warships of the Indian Navy participated. The US carrier strike group was transiting through the Indian Ocean Region on its way from the South China Sea.
The Indian Navy carried out a similar exercise with the Japanese navy in June. India has significantly expanded its deployment in the Indian Ocean Region with a plethora of warships and submarines following the border row to send across a message to Beijing. The maritime space around the Malacca Strait is critical for China’s supply chain through sea routes.