In keeping with ‘rule-based order,’ Indian and Japanese Navies have been working in close coordination in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden (GoA) for the past few years. For the third time Japanese aircraft detachment conducted joint exercise with Indian Navy off Goa at INS Hansa which concluded last week.
The focus was on interoperability between the two navies with special emphasis on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and inter-service communication. Interestingly, Indian Navy’s Boeing P8-I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft and a submarine and two Japanese P 3C Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft built by Kawasaki Corporation under licence from Lockheed Martin of the US participated.
Indian navy operates P-8I the military variant of Boeing’s next-generation 737-800 commercial aircraft and has a fleet of eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.
During the week-long exercise, the two sides were involved in Anti-Piracy Patrol at the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, in an effort to improve their tactical capabilities. The 34 member detachment from Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) was commanded by Commander Shinji Akamatsu.
According to the Indian Navy, the Japanese P3C Orion aircraft has a maximum speed of 750 km per hour with a range of 8900 km. These can carry anti-ship missiles, bombs and torpedoes and also carry sonobuoys to detect the presence of submarines.
These exercises are indicative of an upswing in the Indo-Japanese defence relations and the continued efforts of both governments to work closely to enhance maritime safety and security. In fact, JMSDF has been a regular participant in the Malabar series of exercises between Indian and US Navies.
Last year both sides had also participated in the Exercise MALABAR-18 off Guam (along with Indian and US Navy units) in the Pacific Ocean last June and biennial multilateral exercise RIMPAC-18 off Hawaii, US.
The two countries have already initiated formal talks over the acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) under which the Indian Navy will get an access to JMSDF base in Djibouti, and the Japanese side will get access to Indian facilities located in the Indian Ocean.