- Indian Navy has participated with the navies of the US, Philippines and Japan in their joint naval exercise in the disputed South China Sea. The exercise has been called as Group Sail exercise.
- The vessels that participated includes (a)Indian destroyer INS Kolkata and tanker INS Shakti (b)a guided missile destroyer from the US Pacific Fleet (c)Japanese aircraft carrier Izumo and (d)Philippines patrol vessel Andres Bonifacio.
- These ships undertook various exercises which included (a)formation exercises (b)underway replenishment runs (c)cross-deck flying and (d)exchange of Sea Riders.
- The Group Sail exercise has also showcased India’s commitment to operating with like-minded nations to ensure safe maritime environment through enhanced interoperability.
- This exercise comes at a time of heightened tensions in the trade war between China and the US.The two countries are also locked in a tussle for the commercial control of South China Sea.
- China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam pushing competing claims to parts of the resource-rich maritime region.The United States,Japan and India do not have any territorial claims there.
- Islands in the South China Sea is an area which accounts for 12% of global fishing and through which 30% of the world’s trade passes apart from housing possible oil and gas reserves.
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