The Indian Navy has increased the number of ships to check Chinese movements in the Indian Ocean. Besides the surveillance mission, the navy and the Japanese Navy conducted a joint exercise in the ocean amidst the escalation in eastern Ladakh with China.
The Japanese Navy reported that JS Kashima and JS Shimayuki of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force conducted manoeuvres with INS Rana and INS Kulish of the Indian Navy.
The manoeuvres between India and Japan yesterday and today are clearly meant to be a message to China about the kind of force it could confront if it wishes to escalate the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in Ladakh. Chinese naval ships and submarines have been frequent in the Indian Ocean for some time.
The Indo-Japanese joint naval exercise coincided with the incident of a Japanese military aircraft intercepting Chinese H-6K strategic bomber flying through international airspace between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako in the East China Sea on 28 June.
Japan‘s Defence Minister Taro Kono in a statement expressed concern not only at China’s defence capabilities but also its intentions in the Indo-Pacific region. For the first time, Japan reacted to China’s aggression in parts of Asia in the last few months.
The Indian Navy and its Japanese counterpart performed the joint exercises following the statement of the Japanese defence minister.
To counter China’s repeated efforts to expand military influence in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region, the navies from the US, India, Australia, Japan and France have been increasing their mutual cooperation.
In the wake of aggressive posturing by the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific region and the border standoff between India and China in Ladakh, these exercises have gained major significance.
Tension has been growing meanwhile between India and China in Ladakh even as the latter has been keeping an eye on the important island of East China Sea for a long time. Japan is determined to capture it.
Both China and Japan have been asserting their claims on the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaos in China. Tensions over the rocky chain 1,900 km southwest of Tokyo have simmered for years. The claims of the two sides over the chain date back hundreds of years.
Both Japan and China consider this territory their national birthright.
“An unexpected flare-up in the Senkaku/Diaoyus could trigger a military confrontation between China and the United States. That’s because the United States has a mutual defence treaty with Japan. If Japanese territory is attacked by a foreign power, the United States is obligated to defend it,” reported CNN.
Before the incident above, a Japanese “destroyer” (helicopter-carrier Kaga) along with a P-1 patrol plane had detected a Chinese submarine within 24 miles of the Amami-Oshima island near Okinawa in southern Japan on 18 June. For two days, Kaga and patrol planes tailed the submarine until the Chinese fled the Japanese waters.