Amid ongoing tension with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan valley area of Eastern Ladakh, the Indian and Japanese navies conducted exercises in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on Saturday. Indian Navy vessels INS Rana and INS Kulish conducted an exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) training squadron that consisted of Japanese Ship Kashima and JS Shimayuki.
“JS KASHIMA (TV 3508) and JS SHIMAYUKI (TV 3513), the JMSDF Training Squadron, conducted an exercise with INS RANA and INS KULISH, Indian Navy at the Indian Ocean. JMSDF promoted mutual understanding with Indian Navy through this exercise (sic),” JMSDF said in a tweet along with photographs of the exercise.
Satoshi Suzuki, Japanese Ambassador also took to Twitter and said that the two forces conducted a ‘goodwill training’ in the IOR.
While India and Japan have conducted naval exercises in the past, the present one assumes importance on the backdrop of ongoing furore against China over Beijing’s expansionist policies that have affected India as well as Japan. In fact, massive protests were held by human rights activists in Tokyo on Sunday, demanding that Chinese president Xi Jinping be replaced by a democratic leader. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also recently expressed concern over China’s expansionist policies.