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India, US, Japan to begin naval war game next week

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NEW DELHI (PTI): India and its two strategic partners -- the US and Japan -- will hold the Malabar naval exercise from next week off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea with an aim to deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where China has been expanding its military footprint.

Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar said the upcoming edition of the annual exercise will be very significant in terms of the "scope and complexity" it was aiming at with a view to deal with threats and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kamorta of the eastern fleet would be participating in the 22nd edition of the Malabar exercise from June 7 to 16 June.

The Navy will send its P 8I surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the exercise, in its first overseas deployment, Navy officials said.

"It will be perhaps one of the largest Malabar exercise in terms of participation of naval assets from all the three countries," said Vice Admiral Kumar.

Kumar said war-like situations will be simulated as part of the exercise to enhance inter-operability of the navies of the three countries to deal with such situations effectively.

The US fleet will include USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered supercarrier, Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Pasadena and guided-missile cruisers Antietam and Chancellorsville.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Benfold and Mustin will also be part of the exercise, besides American Navy's P8 aircraft.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force would be represented by a Hyuga class helicopter carrier JS Ise with integral helicopters, Takanami class destroyer JS Suzunami, Akizuki class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki, the defence ministry said.

It is for the first time the Malabar exercise is being conducted off Guam, a US Territory. Malabar 2017 was held in July last year on the eastern sea board of India, off Chennai and Visakhapatnam.

The harbour phase of the exercise from June 7-10 will feature professional interactions among the three navies.

The sea phase from June 11 to 16 includes a diverse range of activities at sea including aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and joint manoeuvres and tactical procedures among others.

The exercise is taking place at a time when the US, Japan and several other leading countries have called for greater role of India in the Indo-Pacific region.

The US has recently named its Hawaii-based Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific command, reflecting Washington's priority in the Indo-Pacific region.

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India  US  Navy  Malabar  Military  
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