India, Japan Coast Guards to exercise off Kochi
Close on the heels of the ongoing Indo-Japan bilateral naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Coast Guard is set to hold a similar exercise with its Japanese counterpart off Kochi in mid-January.
“It will come alongside the Cochin Port Trust quay the next day. Groundwork for the joint exercise and meetings with various coastal and harbour security stakeholders will be conducted in the following days. The exercise will be held on January 14,” Coast Guard sources said.
Besides three vessels, the Indian side is likely to field a Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft and Chetak search and rescue helicopters for the exercise. Ship visit exchanges and a friendly football match will also take place during the period. The Japanese vessel will depart Kochi on January 16.
Military relations between India and Japan grew from strength to strength over the past few years, thanks to India’s resurgent ‘look-east policy’ and the Japanese geo-strategy of counterbalancing China’s strides in the region by forging a long-term strategic partnership with India. The inception of an annual bilateral naval exercise, named JIMEX (Japan India Maritime Exercise) whose second edition is under way now, was a step in that direction, point out officials.
Following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan early this year, a joint working group was formed to work out the modalities for possible acquisition by Indian Navy of the Japanese amphibious aircraft, US-2. Japan had eased its ban on export of defence material to facilitate the deal.