Chennai: Amidst concern raised by China, navies of India, US and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force on Monday began Malabar naval exercise 2017, aimed at achieving deeper military ties between the three nations.
It is the 21st edition of the Malabar exercise.
Sixteen ships, 95 aircraft and two submarines take part in the exercise that will go on till July 17.
The Malabar exercise is taking place amid the military stand-off between armies of India and China in the Sikkim section and Beijing ramping up its naval patrol in the Indian Ocean region.
China has stepped up its activities in the Indian Ocean in recent years, building ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It is the fourth consecutive year Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) has taken part in the Malabar Exercise, conducted annually by the US and India in the Bay of Bengal since 1992.