India, America and Japan kick started Naval exercise Malabar in Indian ocean today. All this while Chinese navy makes renewed efforts to expand its naval reach in the area. The three nations deployed their most potent, top tonnage warships in the waters. USS Nimitz, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, Indian Navy’s INS Vikramaditya, and Japan’s Izumo-class helicopter carrier along with around 20 warships are taking part in the exercise. This is a clear message to hegemonic China, to keep it’s expansionist attitude and aggression in control.
Defence News: The 10-day Malabar drills will be bigger and more complex than all previous editions of the exercise that first took place 23 years ago to increase the inter operability between the Indian and US navies, Hindustan Times reports. It will see the participation of guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton, guided-missile destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup, and USS Kidd, a P-8A Poseidon submarine hunter plane, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine and Japanese destroyer JS Sazanami. These ships in addition to the carriers leading the Battle groups from each nation. Sources indicated that Indian warships at the exercise will include two Shivalik-class stealth frigates, two Ranvir-class destroyers, a Kamorta-class anti-submarine warfare corvette, a tanker and a submarine.
It will involve both ashore and at-sea training. Ashore training will include exchanges on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, a US navy statement said on Thursday. It added that at-sea portions will cover professional exchanges and embarks, submarine familiarization, air defence exercises, surface warfare drills, anti-submarine warfare, gunnery exercises and VBSS operations. “Indian, Japanese and US maritime forces have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. Each iteration of this exercise helps to advance the level of understanding between our sailors, and we hope to be able to continue this process over time,” as per the US navy statement. The latest edition comes at a time when the Chinese navy is making fresh efforts to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean. China has traditionally monitored the Malabar exercise. HT further reported.
Bringing together their powerful navies, the three countries have affirmed their support for a free navigation environment, anti-hegemonic alignment and support for each other in naval diplomacy. China has been trying to encircle India, expending its resources on ports around India, while China recovers the cost of such encirclement though sly deals meant to drain the host nations of their wealth. This has also left it with little credibility among countries which are looking for investment in their ports by the dragon. China should take a sensible stand and not invade land and seas around it. Only then can it be seen as a credible power. Otherwise every country around it will come together to counter it’s influence in one way or the other. History shows that such regimes have a short life.