14 October 2015
CHENNAI, India – Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force is taking part in this year's joint naval exercises by India and the United States that started Wednesday in the Indian Ocean, an area where China has been building up its presence.
The MSDF has sent its Fuyuzuki destroyer for the Malabar series of drills in the Bay of Bengal through Monday aimed at upgrading capability against submarines and undertaking training for rescue and other operations.
Local media said Indian warships and the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt are also taking part in the exercises.
This is the fourth time that Japan has participated in the Malabar operations following last year's training in waters near Japan. It is the first time since 2007 that MSDF troops have joined the drills in the Indian Ocean.
The Indian Ocean provides essential maritime traffic access for both Japan and the United States, while China has been increasing its presence under the so-called "string of pearls" strategy to invest in maritime facilities in countries in the region.
Japan is keen on participating in the India-U.S. drills on a regular basis but there had been speculation the Indian government would not invite Japan out of concern that it could irritate China.