India is hosting joint naval exercises with the United States and Japan for the first time in eight years.
The war games will be held in the Indian Ocean in October, according to military and diplomatic sources cited by Reuters.
New Delhi’s decision to expand this year’s “Malabar” exercises with the US to include Japan suggests tightening military relations between three major maritime powers in Asia, analysts said.
Eight years ago, the multilateral drills so incensed China New Delhi has not hosted one since then.
The Indian Ocean has emerged as a new arena between China and India, both trying to position themselves as the dominant maritime power in the region.
Military officials from India, the US and Japan are meeting at a US naval base in Yokosuka, near Tokyo, to plan the exercises.
A Japanese government official in Tokyo confirmed the meeting and said representatives from the three navies were discussing Tokyo’s participation in the war games.
The officials will decide the type of warships and planes the navies will deploy for the exercises in the Bay of Bengal in the northeastern Indian Ocean, said one of the sources familiar with the initial planning.
“They are discussing platforms, logistics and interoperability between the three naval forces,” the source said.
India and the US have fielded aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in previous bilateral exercises.
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