India and Japan kick off their three-day maritime drills in the northern Arabia Sea from 26 September, days after India conducted an exercise with Australia in the Indian Ocean on 23-24 September. Just like the Indo-Australian drills, JIMEX-20 is being conducted in a “non-contact at-sea-only format”, in view of COVID-19 restrictions.
“JIMEX-20 will showcase a high degree of inter-operability and joint operational skills through conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the spectrum of maritime operations. Multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firing, cross-deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills will consolidate the coordination developed by the two navies,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.
Indigenously built stealth destroyer Chennai, Teg Class stealth frigate Tarkash and Fleet Tanker Deepak, will represent the Indian Navy. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has sent its warships like JMSDF Ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and Ikazuchi, a Guided Missile Destroyer for the drills. In addition to ships, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and fighter aircraft will also participate in the exercise.
“JIMEX-20 will further enhance the cooperation and mutual confidence between the two navies and fortify the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries,” the statement added.
Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years. Advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.
JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.