India and the US are set to deepen and broaden their bilateral military exercises to include more warfare components involving nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
Both the Indian and US navies have been warily watching the growing Chinese naval presence in Indian Ocean, especially its submarine maneuvers. In the recent weeks, India conveyed its displeasure to Sri Lankan government at least twice over its decision to permit Chinese submarines to dock in its ports.
India and US officials have had detailed discussions, including at the Defence Policy Group meeting in Washington DC, on stepping up the bilateral naval exercises. The decision involves a series of steps, starting with increasing the nuclear submarine and aircraft carrier warfare components.
The two sides are also looking at adding both army and air force components to the traditionally naval exercise.
The two sides are looking at inviting more countries to the Malabar exercises, thus expanding them mostly into trilateral exercises.
In July 2014, India and US invited Japan to the exercises held in north-western Pacific.
Malabar has featured Australia and Singapore, besides Japan, in 2007.
Through most of UPA tenure, especially under defence minister AK Antony, Malabar exercises off Indian coast have mostly been bilateral affairs, in an effort not to raises Chinese hackles.
Under the new regime in New Delhi there is a noticeable shift in the strategic posturing, especially visà-vis China.
In Washington DC in October, the joint statement issued by Narendra Modi and Barack Obama had referred to the situation in South China Sea. It was the first time that the two sides had so explicitly referred to the issue in an Indo-US joint statement.
Accident at Vizag naval base: 4 still missing cutting Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan is short his visit to Seychelles due to the sinking of the torpedo recovery vessel (TRV) around 35 nautical miles south of Visakhapatnam on Thursday, which left one junior commissioned officer (JCO) dead.
An officer and three other personnel are still missing despite the major search and rescue mission launched to trace them.