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India, Japan conduct bilateral naval exercise in Indian Ocean-USS Ronald Reagan in South China Sea

India, Japan conduct bilateral naval exercise in Indian Ocean-USS Ronald Reagan in South China Sea
 
Ships of the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) on Sunday participated in a joint naval exercise at the Indian Ocean to realize "Free and Open Indo-Pacific. "JS KASHIMA (TV3508) and JS SETOYUKI (TV3518) conducted a bilateral exercise with INS KULISH (P63) at the Indian Ocean to realize "Free and Open Indo-Pacific"," JMSDF tweeted.

Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years. Last year, in the month of September, Indian Navy and JMSDF conducted a three day naval exercise JIMEX-2020.

It was the 4th edition of India-Japan maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX. It was held in the North Arabian Sea from September 26 to September 28  

USS Ronald Reagan in South China Sea

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, began operating in the South China Sea from Monday for the first time during its 2021 deployment.

The move comes at a crucial time when NATO leaders last night expressed a major concern over "China's stated ambitions and assertive behaviour" which presents "systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security"

Washington believes that upholding freedom of the seas in the South China Sea is vitally important where nearly a third of global maritime trade, roughly 3.5 trillion dollars, a third of global crude oil, and half of global liquefied natural gas passes through the sea each year.

The carrier strike group includes the US Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and embarked staffs of Task Force 70 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97).

"The South China Sea is pivotal to the free flow of commerce that fuels the economies of those nations committed to international law and rules based order," said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, Commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

"It also is both a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside our allies, partners, and joint service teammates to provide full spectrum support to key maritime commons and ensure all nations continue to benefit from a free and open Indo-Pacific region," Pennington was quoted as saying by the 7th Fleet website.

Most recently, the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) operated with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) in the South China Sea from June 6 to 11. 

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