Four Indian ships to take part in exercise with US, Japan

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New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Four ships of the Indian Navy will participate along with vessels from the US and Japan in an exercise to be held off the Japan coast in June.

The Malabar exercise is set to take place off Okinawa island — roughly 640 km south of the rest of Japan, and around the same distance off the coast of China — in the second half of June, official sources said on Tuesday.

The Indian fleet will include two stealth frigates, one tanker and a corvette, along with helicopters.

Malabar is a joint exercise between India and the US, and now has Japan as a permanent partner.

In 2007, Australia was included along with Japan in the exercise. An outlash from China led to its withdrawal.

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Last year, Australia again expressed interest in participating in the Malabar exercise.

On his visit to India, Commander of the Pacific Fleet of US Navy Admiral Scott Swift had said Australia was welcome, adding that the approach to the exercise should be “inclusive”.

The admiral said China’s objection to the inclusion of Australia earlier was also “fine”, as it was not participating in the exercise itself.



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