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March 30, 2011

Japan Pulls Out Of Malabar War Games

(Aviationweek) : Japan will not take part in a joint naval exercise by India and the U.S. next month as its navy ramps up relief efforts after the massive earthquake and tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people and threatened to trigger a nuclear disaster.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force was supposed to participate in the Malabar series of war games from April 2-10 off Okinawa.
The exercise between India and the U.S. involving destroyers, frigates and submarines will be carried out in the Western Pacific, though the Indian ships have canceled their Okinawa port call due to the nuclear radiation crisis in Japan, an Indian navy spokesman says.
According to the latest reports, five Indian naval warships from the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern fleet left India on March 12 and have reached the Straits of Malacca. The Indian flotilla comprises INS Delhi and INS Jyoti, INS Ranvijay and two R-class destroyers. The flotilla will visit Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Russia and Singapore.
So far, 12 exercises of the Malabar series have been conducted, 10 of which have been held off India and two in the Pacific. Japanese maritime forces have participated in two war games conducted in the Pacific Ocean.
“The annual exercise, led by the Indian navy, is to enhance inter-operability by sharing information and learning from our allies,” the spokesman says. The navy will mainly concentrate on anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, air defense, live-fire gunnery training, and visit, board, search and seizure operations, he adds.
Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony recently told the country’s parliament that the objective of conducting such exercises is to promote mutual cooperation and gain from the experience of other navies, especially in the field of advanced technology. “It also facilitates inter-operability in times of need in situations like disaster management,” Antony says. “Such exercises offer an opportunity to gain operational skills, exchange experiences and learn the best practices of other navies.”

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