The Malabar naval exercise involving Indian, American and Japanese navies will begin next week off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea with a focus on greater inter-operability in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region. The mega war game would take place from June 7 to June 15 in the backdrop of China's growing expansionist behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region. The US Navy said the exercise will feature both ashore and at-sea training. "Training will focus on high-end war fighting skill sets, subject matter expert and professional exchanges, combined carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, helicopter operations and visit, board, search and seizure operations," it said. The US Navy said the Indian, Japanese and US maritime forces look forward to working together to build upon and advance their working relationship. "Each iteration of this exercise helps to increase the level of understanding between our sailors and inter-operability between our three navies," the US Navy said. The statement of the US Navy has been released here by the American Embassy. India and the US have regularly conducted the annual exercise since 1992. China has been suspicious about the purpose of the Malabar exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Last year, the exercise had taken place in the Bay of Bengal.