Tuesday 30 June 2015

Naval Exercises | Malabar, IN-RAN, JIMEX, CORPAT

Why in news?
  • Despite the India-US joint statement issued during President Obama’s Delhi visit stating that “they will upgrade” Exercise Malabar, the maritime exercise will remain restricted to India, US and Japan this year
  • The 2015 exercise will see Japan’s participation in a naval manouevre in the Bay of Bengal after eight years but Australia will not be participating in the exercise. 

Background of the issue:

India and US have restricted the Malabar largely to a bilateral format after China had protested against the 2007 exercise held in the Bay of Bengal.  Along with the Indian and American navies, the 2007 edition had included the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies.

India's Naval exercises:

  • Malabar is an annual naval training exercise conducted by Indian and American navies, which includes fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers and other joint interdiction exercises. 
  • India will host its first-ever IN-RAN bilateral naval exercise with Australia in October-November, and  JIMEX maritime exercise with Japan in November.

Source: Times of India
Malabar Exercise - Significance:
  • In his opening remarks, Kerry spoke of East Asia as “a place of challenge for some issues of security”, 
  • Swaraj spoke of the “sea lanes of communication in the region” as “the lifeline of India’s trade and commercial externalities”, and 
  • Kishida described the Pacific and Indian Oceans as “oceans of freedom and prosperity”.
  • CRUX: convergence of India’s Look East policy, Japan’s repeated insistence on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and the Obama administration’s Asia-Pacific Rebalance.
  • Japan angle:
    • Malabar, initially an India-US bilateral naval exercise, began in 1992, and Japan became a permanent participant only in the current — 19th — edition in 2015. Japan’s participation as a non-permanent participant in 2007 had drawn a strong protest from China; Japan, nonetheless, participated in the 2009, 2011 and 2014 editions of the exercise, which were held off the Japanese coast. 
    • Japan has been aggressively voicing its concerns about the South China Sea in view of increased Chinese activities and the dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.
  • US angle:
    • significance of the region in the light of the US Asia Pacific Rebalance: “A China that recognises norms is in the interest of everyone,” he had said, adding that the US planned to station 60 per cent of its fleet and 55 per cent of its surface combatants in the Pacific region, with two ships stationed in Japan.
    • The US reportedly plans to sail warships within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-claimed features in the South China Sea, as part of Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations.
[Sources: TOI, Indian Express]


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