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India-US-Japan naval exercise starts tomorrow

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Malabar exersice between nations. A File photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The tri-nation naval exercise between Indian, American and Japanese navies, which had raised China's hackles two years ago, will start today off the coast of Okinawa in Japan, naval officials said here on Tuesday.

"Indian naval ships have reached Okinawa to participate in the Malabar exercise with the US and Japanese ships, they said.

Indian ships participating in the exercise were part of the Chinese international fleet review held last week in Qingdao in China.

The Malabar exercise series is a bilateral naval exercise between Indian and US navies but the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has also been involved in it this year. In 2008 also, the JMSDF had taken part in the exercise.

"We look forward to this opportunity to work with the very professional maritime forces of India and Japan," Commander of US 7th Fleet Vice Admiral John Bird said in a release.

"Malabar gives us the chance to build greater interoperability with two of our most important regional partners," he added.

The at-sea exercise in Malabar will include anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare manouevres, gunnery training, air defence and visit, board, search and seizure.

Three Indian Navy ships, including a Delhi Class Destroyer along with tanker ship INS Jyoti, will participate in the exercise along with the US' 7th Fleet flagship "USS Blue Ridge", guided missile destroyers "USS Fitzgerald" and "USS Chafee" and fast-attack submarine "USS Seawolf" along with various P-3C and SH-60 aircraft.

JMSDF is being represented by two Guided Missile Destroyer ships, including Asayaku and the P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, from Japan.

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