New Delhi: Four Indian naval ships including two stealth frigates will take part in a trilateral exercise next month near the South China Sea which will see India, US and Japan playing war games in East of Okinawa.
Defence sources said the two frigates along with a tanker and a corvette with integral helicopters will take part in Malabar Exercise which will be held from mid-June to the end of the month.
Reacting sharply to India’s move in December last year of including Japan in the Indo-US Malabar naval exercises on a permanent basis, China had said that Tokyo will not “provoke confrontation” and “heighten tensions” in the region.
China is in a territorial dispute with the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam over the South China Sea issue. There are overlapping claims over the waters in that maritime region.
The US, which had been pushing for Japan’s inclusion, has said the exercise is an important element for assessing the maritime capabilities of all the three countries.
The US has in recent months ramped up its warnings over what it calls China’s growing “militarisation” in the South China Sea.
American warships and aircraft have undertaken number of operations in the region to challenge China’s moves even as the US hopes to stitch Asian military powers into a closer cooperation.
The US has also been pushing for a quadrilateral security dialogue involving itself, India, Japan and Australia.