New Delhi, November 7
India joined 10 other countries for a “search and rescue” exercise planned within the International Fleet Review (IFR) off the coast of Japan over the weekend.
The IFR was conducted on November 6 and 7.
Unusually, from the Indian perspective, the Pakistan navy was also part of the exercise at sea. Japan had invited Pakistan for the exercise.
China abstained from the IFR in spite of an invitation from Japan.
A day after skipping the IFR, China today joined the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) in Yokohama.
India has the status of an ‘observer’ at the WPNS and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar is participating. About 30 countries are part of the symposium.
This was not for the first time that the India and Pakistan militaries were together for a multi-nation forum or exercise. In 2019, armies of the two countries participated in a multi-nation exercise in Russia under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Indian naval warships Shivalik and Kamorta were part of the IFR and will remain there for almost two more weeks for other engagements.
The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) said 11 countries — Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the US — participated in search and rescue exercise.
Sources in New Delhi said the Indian naval ships were part of a group that included ships from Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia, indicating that Pakistan was in another group.
The exercise encompassed fire-fighting and medical evacuation drills, sources added.
Japanese PM Fumio Kishida inspected the fleets at the IFR on board JMSDF carrier JS Izumo. Japan hosted the IFR for the first time in 20 years to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the JMSDF this year.
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