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Trilateral Malabar exercise to kick off on July 10

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NEW DELHI (PTI): The Malabar naval exercise involving Indian, American and Japanese navies will kick start on July 10 in the Bay of Bengal, amid China's growing military assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

A sizeable number of aircraft, naval ships and nuclear submarines of the navies of the three countries will be part of the annual exercise, considered a major war game in the region.

The exercise is taking place in the backdrop of a major military standoff between armies of India and China in the Sikkim section and Beijing ramping up its naval presence in the South China Sea.

The aim of the Malabar exercise is to achieve deeper military ties and greater interoperability among the three navies in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific region.

India and the US have regularly conducted the annual exercise since 1992.

Beijing has been suspicious about the purpose of Malabar exercises as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise will cover activities like combined carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare.

It will also include aspects like medical operations, damage control, special forces operation, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and helicopter operations.

"Indian, Japanese and US maritime forces look forward to working together again to build upon and advance their working relationship to collectively provide security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

"Each iteration of this exercise helps to increase the level of understanding between our Sailors and interoperability between our three navies," the US had said in a statement last month.

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