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Indian and Japanese navies carry out 3-day mega exercise

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Indian and Australian navy ships during the two-day passage exercise in the Indian Ocean. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI  (PTI):  Navies of India and Japan have carried out a range of complex drills in the North Arabian Sea on the first day of their three-day military exercise aimed at further bolstering operational convergence, officials said.

It is the first military exercise between the two strategic partners after they signed a landmark agreement on September 9 that allows their militaries to access each other's bases for logistics support.

The fourth edition of the India-Japan maritime exercise, JIMEX, is taking place in the backdrop of growing concerns over China's military assertiveness in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.

The JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition was conducted in October 2018 off the Visakhapatnam coast.

Indigenously-built stealth destroyer Chennai, Teg Class stealth frigate Tarkash and fleet tanker Deepak represented the Indian Navy in the exercise, an Indian Navy spokesperson said.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force was represented by ships Kaga, an Izumo class helicopter destroyer and Ikazuchi, a guided-missile destroyer, he said.

In addition to ships, a fleet of long-range maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and fighter aircraft are also participating in the exercise.

This week, the Indian and Australian navies too 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 very critical for China's supply chain through sea routes.

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