The South China Sea issue is again going to be in the limelight as India, the US and Japan are set to hold a trilateral naval exercise in the Western Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Okinawa.
The trilateral exercise called ‘Malabar Exercise' will start on Friday and run through June 17 and is likely to strengthen naval ties between India, the US and Japan amid militarization of South China Sea by China.
The Malabar Exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare and air-defense training among the three countries.
The US will send its 7th Fleet for the Malabar Exercise.
The Indian Navy will deploy its four warships for the annual Malabar Naval Exercise. The Indian naval fleet consists of guided missile stealth frigates INS Satpura and Sahyadri; INS Shakti, a fleet support ship and INS Kirch, a guided missile corvette.
The ‘Malabar Exercise' is an annual joint naval exercise between India and the US and Japan is joining it for the first time since 2007, when Japan had discontinued its participation after China's objections. Since 2007 Japan has participated only four times in the drills.
The realignment of India, the US and, Japan can be considered as a repercussion of China's aggressive stance on the South China Sea issue.
"China's growing power projection capabilities have strained the fragile relationship with its neighbors due to its excessive maritime claims and non-conformity to the existing norms. This has led to new challenges and the maritime security situation is in flux due to the strategic power play and realignments," defense expert Sushant Sareen told Sputnik.