Indian navy joined drill exercise with that of USA, Japan, and the Philippines to conclude the first-ever joint naval drill in contested waters of the South China Sea. India joined the drill as a part of its policy to work with like-minded nations to ensure a safe maritime environment by enhancing the military’s capability. The drill involves two naval ships from India besides military equipment from the US, Philippines, and Japan. The Indian ships that joined the naval drill were INS Kolkata and INS Shakti.
Indian Naval Ships, INS Kolkata (D 63) & INS Shakti (A 57) carried out Group Sail with Naval ships from Japan, Philippines & United States, in South China Sea from 03 – 09 May 19.
The six-day long Group Sail witnessed Six combat ships of four navies sailing alongside eachother. pic.twitter.com/iJejdWgsos
— Delhi Defence Review (@delhidefence) May 9, 2019
The ships undertook various exercises including replenishment runs, formation maneuvering, cross-deck flying, and exchange of sea riders. China’s foreign office in reaction to the development said that the countries must not indulge in any action that undermines the peace and stability in the region.
About six nations claim over sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea. The US also claims to be a stakeholder in the conflict as it maintains that the South China Sea should remain open for international navigation according to the International Law of the Sea.