Indian Navy conducted a bilateral naval exercise called “JIMEX 2020” with Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships between September 26 and 28 in the Northern Arabian Sea, according to the Times of India. The exercise marked the fourth time the two nations have held the biannual drill.
In an effort to increase the naval cooperation with Japan, JIMEX exercises first began in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation and promoting the regional naval forces to patrol and safeguard the navigational sea routes. The last JIMEX exercise was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.
In recent years, the growth in diplomatic and military relationships between India and Japan has grown significantly. The complexity, quality, and in-depth cooperation between both countries have increased over the past decade. Japan has conducted intense cooperation with the United States and India, especially in the Naval sector. The close ties and continued growth have angered China, which is an adversary to both nations.
In JIMEX 2020, both navies showcased a high degree of interoperability, major intelligence collaboration, advanced mobilization, and joint operation skills. The exercised paved way for the formation of a fortified joint naval force through various drills involving a multitude of special and extreme maneuvers. JIMEX 2020 was conducted in a “non-contact at-sea-only format” in light of COVID-19 restrictions, allowing officers and personnel to contact each other through wireless communication.
In the exercise, the Indian Navy Fleet was represented by Kolkata class Destroyer INS Chennai, Teg class frigate INS Tarkash and fleet tanker INS Deepak under the command of Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer commanding the Western Fleet. Meanwhile, the Japanese Counterpart was represented by JMSDF Ships JS Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and JS Ikazuchi, a guided missile destroyer, led by Rear Admiral Konno Yasushige, commander of Escort Flotilla – 2 (CCF – 2). Along with these major warships, Indian Navy reconnaissance aircraft like the P-8i Poseidon and integral naval utility helicopters and fighter aircraft like MiG-29Ks also participated in the exercise.
With such a wide spectrum of exercise, India is strengthening its the tide of the alliance in seas with countries like Japan, the U.S., and Australia in an aim to increase sea patrols and protect the freedom of navigation.