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Indo-US Malabar exercise looms in uncertainty

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Malabar exercise 2010. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Uncertainty prevails over the conduct of annual Indo-US naval wargames under the Malabar series off the coast of Japan, which has been severely affected by tsunami and nuclear radiation leaks.

The Japanese Navy is also scheduled to participate in the wargames but with they being deeply involved with the rescue operations, there is a question mark over the conduct of the exercise, Navy sources told PTI here.

Five Indian naval warships from Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern fleet had left the Indian shores on March 12 and have reached Malacca straits.

"As of now, the exercise is on but the decision over Malabar may be reconsidered in view of the situation in Japan," they added.

The exercise is at present scheduled to take place off the coast of Okinawa in Japan and would involve destroyers, frigates and submarines of different class and type from the three maritime forces.

The Indian flotilla for the exercise comprises five ships INS Delhi and INS Jyoti and are supposed to visit Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, Russia and Singapore.

Twelve exercises of the Malabar series have so far been conducted and out of these ten have been held off Indian Coast and two in the Pacific.

In the two exercises in the Pacific Ocean, Japanese maritime forces have also taken part.

Answering a question in Parliament, Defence Minister A K Antony had recently said, "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 available with them."

"It also facilitates inter-operability in times of need in situations like disaster management. Such exercises offer an opportunity to gain operational skills, exchange experiences and learn the best practices of other navies," he added.

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India  US  Japan  Malabar  Navy  
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