Defence and security relations between India and Japan have evolved steadily over the years and now constitute a strong pillar of the India-Japan strategic partnership. There has been an increasing frequency of defence exchanges along the entire spectrum such as annual reciprocal visits between the Defence Ministers, 2 plus 2 meetings, Defence Policy Dialogue at the level of Defence Secretary and Vice-Ministerial level, Service to Service level Staff Talks, subscription to Training courses by Services, professional exchanges and visits between the Services and Cadet exchange programmes; in addition to participation in numerous multilateral seminars/ forums.
1. IN and USN have regularly conducted the annual bilateral exercise named ‘Malabar’ since 1992. Since 2007, Malabar has been held alternatively off India and in the Western Pacific. The 19th edition of the exercise, Ex Malabar-15, was conducted off Chennai and included participation by the JMSDF.
2. Exercise Malabar-16 (20th Edition) was held in Japan from 10-17 Jun 2016. The exercise witnessed participation of the Indian Navy (IN), the United States Navy (USN) and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF). The Harbour Phase (10-14 Jun 2016) was conducted at Sasebo (Japan) and the Sea Phase (14-17 June 2016) was held off Okinawa in the Western Pacific Ocean.
3.In consonance with India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and growing relations among India, US and Japan, IN ships Satpura, Sahyadri, Shakti and Kirch participated in the 20th edition of Ex Malabar-16 with the USN and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). The primary aim of the 20th edition of Malabar-16 was to increase interoperability amongst the three navies and develop a common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations. The scope of Malabar-16 included professional interactions in harbour and a diverse range of activities at sea, including complex surface, sub-surface and air operations.