India-US Malabar naval drill not aimed at containing China: US
The US has clarified that the annual India-US bilateral “Malabar” naval exercise which started in the Asia Pacific region is not aimed at containing China and that the exercise would strengthen the US naval presence in the Pacific Ocean region and maritime partnership with its allies.
The exercise this year has Japan as a special invitee. China had in the past raised objections over Japan’s taking part in the war-games held mainly between US and India. The last drill involving Japan was held in 2009. As per the US, the participating nations are working with specific training drills such as communication, search and rescue, helicopter cross deck evolutions and anti-submarine welfare.
Over 7,000 American defence personnel are participating in the exercise. The US battleships participating in the drill includes nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, Ticonderoga-class destroyer USS Shiloh, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer John S McCain and nuclear submarine USS Columbus. P-3 Orion aircraft and MH-60R helicopters will also be part of this exercise.
India is participating with its three warships—INS Ranvijay and Shivalik along with fleet support tanker ship INS Shakti.