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Navies of India and Japan carry out military drills in Andaman Sea

NEW DELHI (PTI):  The navies of India and Japan have carried out a series of complex military drills in the Andaman Sea, in reflection of the growing maritime cooperation between the two countries.

The Indian Navy said on Saturday its exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) was aimed at ensuring safe and secure international shipping and trade in Indian Ocean Region.

There have been growing concerns over China's increasing forays into the Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy.

While the Indian Navy deployed its offshore patrol vessel INS Sukanya, for the exercise, the JMSDF's sent its Murasame class destroyer JS Samidare for the drills.

"INS Sukanya, an offshore patrol vessel and JS Samidare, a Murasame class destroyer, undertook various exercises including seamanship activities, aircraft operations and tactical manoeuvres as part of the operational interaction," the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The two countries have been carrying out regular exercises in the Indian Ocean Region towards reinforcing maritime association.

"The exercise was aimed at enhancing interoperability and streamlining seamanship and communication procedures," the Navy said.

"This exercise is part of the ongoing efforts between the two navies towards ensuring safe and secure international shipping and trade in the Indian Ocean Region," it added.

Both Japan and the US are India's partners in the Quadrilateral coalition and the implications of the Ukraine crisis for the Indo-Pacific are likely to figure in the talks in both Washington and Tokyo.

Both India and Japan are part of the Quad along with the US and Australia.

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