Amid rising tensions between the Indian and Chinese armies at the Bhutan border, China on Friday cautiously reacted to Malabar exercises between the navies of India, the US and Japan, saying it has “no objection” to normal cooperation and hoped that it was not directed against any third country. The Chinese media in the past had alleged that the exercises were aimed at China.
The annual naval exercises involving the aircraft carriers of the US, Indian and Japanese navies are reported to be held from July 10 in the Indian Ocean. According to a PTI report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “As we have said before, we have no objection to normal bilateral relationship and cooperation between relevant countries.”
“We hope that this kind of relationship and cooperation will not be directed against any third country and that it will be conducive to the regional peace and security,” Geng added. The annual exercise will witness around 15 warships, two submarines, numerous fighter planes, helicopters and surveillance aircraft participating. India’s INS Vikramaditya along with US aircraft carrier Nimitiz and Japan’s helicopter carrier Izumo are also due to take part in the exercises, stated to be biggest involving the three countries.
China has been closely monitoring the developments in the Indian Ocean and has been wary of the naval Malabar exercise, especially after Japan joined the bilateral exercise between India and the US in 2015.