4:50 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

India, U.S., Japan joint naval exercise in Pacific today

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India, the United States and Japan are embarking on joint naval manoeuvres in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday as part of the Malabar series of exercises.

The exercise, in which 800 personnel from the Navy will participate, follows the U.S.’s strategic pivot to Asia — a doctrine that will result in the shifting of a bulk of American naval assets in the Asia-Pacific over the next decade.

The shift in the U.S. military posture is seen as part of a new initiative to contain China. However, Indian officials say that India will exercise its “strategic autonomy” but will not participate in a U.S. led counter-China policy with Japan and Australia as partners.

The Navy is fielding a frigate, a destroyer, and a supply vessel in the week-long exercise meant to focus on anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations.

The three countries earlier participated in joint exercises in 2009, and Singapore and Australia were also part of the manoeuvres in 2007.

Thursday’s exercise follows the Indra-14 drills that India and Russia held in the Sea of Japan.

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