Aircraft from the Indian and Japanese navies are set to conclude a three-day exercise over the Arabian Sea on Tuesday. Image Credit: Indian Navy via Twitter
On Sunday two P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) joined two Indian P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft at INS Hansa near Dabolim, Goa.
Besides practicing anti-submarine warfare, the two sides are also swapping some personnel during the exercise to increase familiarity with each other’s aircrafts.
Vishnu Som of NDTV reports that the Indian Navy is especially hoping to learn more about the US-made P-3C Orion, since it also happens to be the main anti-submarine aircraft of the Pakistan Navy since 1996.
The Pakistan Navy currently fields at least seven P-3 series aircraft. That’s not counting two that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) destroyed in an attack on a Karachi naval air base in 2011.
More broadly, the India-Japan exercise symbolises growing maritime cooperation between the two countries as they warily eye China’s growing naval presence in the region. In July, Indian, Japanese, and US ships participated in the annual Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal. As this blog reported, anti-submarine warfare was an area of focus during that large-scale exercise as well.
In September, then defence minister Arun Jaitley landed in Tokyo for an annual security dialogue during which both sides agreed to ramp up defence ties in areas ranging from dual-use technologies to counter-terrorism.