China cautious ahead of joint India, US and Japan naval drill in Bay of Bengal
India's aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, Japanese warship JS Izumo and US carrier Nimitz will be part of the joint naval drill. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)
The annual Malabar naval exercise involving Indian, US and Japanese navies will begin on July 10 amid a standoff between the armies of India and China over the Dokalam plateau and China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.
The annual exercise which will see India sending its largest naval fleet aims to achieve deeper military ties between the three countires.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokeman said that China does not have any objection to such cooperations and relationships as long as such exercises are not directed against a third nation.
"As we have said before, we have no objection to normal bilateral relationship and cooperation among relevant countries. We hope that this kind of relationship and cooperation will not be directed against third country and that it will be conducive to the regional peace and security," Geng Shuang, China's foreign ministry spokeman, said.
The standoff between the two armies at the strategically important Dokalam area began over the construction of a road by the Chinese army near the Bhutan trijunction.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday in the backdrop of the impasse between both the countries back home.
Beijing has been wary of the Malabar exercise which is seen as an effort to contain its influence in the region.
India's aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, Japanese warship JS Izumo and US carrier Nimitz will be part of the joint naval drill.