India, Japan and US began joint naval exercise near disputed Senkaku Islands in East China Sea. India, Japan and U.S. on Friday started their marine war games, Malabar Exercise, near Okinawa Island – around 400 kilometers from thedisputed Senkaku Islands in East China Sea, reports chinatopix
The marine war games would recreate scenarios where Indian, Japan and U.S. navy commandos would hunt for Chinese submarines and counter aggressive Chinese People' Liberation Army (Navy).
The annual marine exercise was originally a bilateral drill between the U.S. and India, but recently expanded to a trilateral exercise to include Japan. More than 100 state-of-the-art military assets will be participating in this year's Malabar Exercise.
This includes the super carrier Nimitz class, USS JOHN C.STENNIS, around 50 antisubmarine warfare helicopters and Super Hornet fighters. From the Indian side, multi-role frigate INS SAHYADRI and INS SATPURA will be participating in the exercise.
"The exercise will try and formulate procedure and validate maritime operations and tactics," a top Navy officer told Indian news channel NDTV. "The exercise will strengthen the Indo-Japan-U.S. Naval cooperation.
"One of the important parts of this year's war game exercise is the anti-submarine warfare where U.S., Japan and Indian naval force will create a hypothetical scenario of countering and hunting down Chinese submarines.
This exercise assumes importance in the wake of Chinese nuclear submarines' increasing presence in the western seaboard of India.
For many decades China and Japan have been at loggerheads over their claims on the islands in the East China Sea, with each party claiming the entire maritime region as their own.
Compared to the South China Sea dispute, Beijing has been less assertive in its claims in the East China Sea. However, Japan has refused to let its guard down against China.
Earlier this week, Tokyo protested after spotting a Chinese warship near the disputed Senkaku Island, as previously reported.