Malabar exercise begins near islands contested by China

Background: Malabar naval exercises, South China Sea, East China Sea, Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), Senkaku Islands, Nine dash line.

  • At a time of increased volatility in China’s relations with its oceanic neighbours as well as India’s own parleys for China’s support to gain entry into the NSG, the navies of India, Japan and the US on June 10th started the annual Malabar naval exercises in Japan, close to islands contested by China.
  • This also comes just after PM Modi’s visit to the US during which India was declared a major defence partner of the US.
  • The location of the war games is of particular interest as they are not very far from the Air Defence Identification Zone imposed by China over the East China Sea in November 2013, including the Senkaku Islands (controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing) and the nine dash line.
  • The exercise also comes at a time of increased sighting of Chinese submarines in India’s own backyard, close to Sri Lanka.
  • The primary aim of this exercise is to increase interoperability among the three navies and develop common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations.

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