Amid the ongoing standoff between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the warships of Indian and Japanese held a small exercise towards the Malacca strait in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on Saturday (27 June), reports Times of India.
Indian Navy's Rajput-class destroyer INS Rana and Kora-class missile corvette INS Kulish took part in the exercise with JS Shimayuki and JS Kashmia of Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Forece's training squadron.
The report quoted sources as saying that though the exercise was largely a "PASSEX (Passing Exercise)", it definitlely amounts to some strategic signalling for China.
Besides, three American Aircraft Carriers - USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz, are also deployed currently in the region for the first time in recent years.
The deployment of US Aircraft carriers in the region has not gone down well with China.
Since 2015, Japan has become a regular participant in the annual "Malabar" naval exercise with India and US. All the three countries are concerned with the aggressive musle-flexing of China in the Indo-pacific region, especially in the South China Sea.
The "Malabar" exercise is slated to be held later this year in the Bay of Bengal.
Besides, India and Japan have also increased their bilateral military ties with an annual joint land military exercise, "Dharma Guardian", being held since 2018.
India and Japan are now also finalising a reciprocal military logistics agreement to furhter strengthen their strategic partnership.
In a bid to increase its naval operational reach to counter China's expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region, India has already signed several such pacts with countries like US, France, South Korea, Singappre and Australia. India has already inked reciprocal military logistics pacts with the US, France, South Korea, Singapore and Australia.
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