Four ships of the Indian Navy will participate in Exercise Malabar along with the navies of Japan and the US. The trilateral naval exercise, scheduled for next month, will be held in Japanese waters east of Okinawa.
The Indian fleet will include two stealth frigate, one tanker and one Kirch-class corvette with integral helicopters for Malabar 2016, a set of exercises that began 24 years ago.
Exercise Malabar has been a highlight of naval cooperation between India and the US, since BJP government came to power in May 2014. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014, the joint statement noted that the two countries had “agreed to upgrade their existing bilateral Exercise Malabar”. This was reiterated during President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi in January 2015.
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India has, however, been reluctant to take the American offer for joint naval patrols. During the visit of US Defence Secretary Ash Carter to Delhi last month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar rejected any suggestion of joint naval patrols with the US Navy. He instead argued for deepened cooperation on naval exercises between the two countries.
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