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Japan's MSDF, Indian navy hold 1st joint exercise in Indian Ocean


A joint exercise by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy was held Saturday in the Indian Ocean off Chennai in southern India.

It is the second exercise of its kind since June of last year, and the first to be staged in India.

The exercise is focused primarily on security in sea lanes and enhancing interoperability in antipiracy operations.

Given that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is slated to make an official visit to India at the end of January, the exercise is seen as aimed at checking China's increasing assertiveness in regional waters.

The exercise is planned to last two days. Two MSDF guided missile destroyers, Ariake and Setogiri, as well as the Indian Navy's stealth frigate Satpura, guided missile destroyer Ranvijay and missile corvette Kuthar are taking part.

According to a Self-Defense Force source, compared to last year's exercise, the current training has been enhanced to require greater cooperation in operations in anti-surface and anti-submarine threat scenarios.

Japan and India have in recent years been advancing strategic cooperation with an eye on China. Japan and India have recently agreed to launch working-level talks soon to pave the way for exports of the Japanese amphibious rescue US2 aircraft.

During his visit next month, Abe is expected to tout the close relations between the two countries in security and defense fields.