The US, Japanese, and Indian navies are meeting for exercises near Guam for the first time, and China is keeping a close eye on them
US, Indian, and Japanese ships are in Guam for Exercise Malabar 2018.
This is the 22nd iteration of the Malabar exercise, which has been focused on maritime operations and security.
Recent versions of the exercise have taken place amid growing tensions between China and its neighbors.
US, Japanese, and Indian warships converged on Guam last week for the 22nd iteration of Exercise Malabar, an annual exercise focused on developing coordination and training to counter maritime threats.
This year’s version of the exercise, which is the first to take place around Guam, runs from June 7 to June 16, but as the ships involved gathered beforehand, the Chinese navy was keeping an eye on the proceedings.
Indian ships sailing to Guam were shadowed by Chinese warships in the South China Sea, breaking off only when the Indian ships entered the Philippine Sea.
“We had good, polite conversation. They were there for some time, and then broke off,” Rear Adm. Dinesh K. Tripathi, commander of India’s Eastern Fleet and head of India’s delegation to Malabar 2018, told The Economic Times. “The moment we entered the Pacific across the Philippines Sea, they went back. It was interesting.”
Surveillance by Chinese ships, which Tripathi said was “not surprising,” comes a few weeks after Indian warships spotted a Chinese ship “tailing them at a safe distance” as they left Vietnam, following the first joint exercise between those two countries.
“We knew we were being tailed, but we were on international waters or global commons, and therefore took evasive measures,” sources told India Today of the incident.
That exercise, which ran from May 21 to May 25, attracted Chinese ire, with a Global Times op-ed calling it “a futile attempt to flex muscle.”
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Source:: Business Insider