India and 3 other Quad member nations on Monday joined France in kick-starting a 3-day naval war game in the eastern Indian Ocean in reflection of their growing maritime cooperation amid China's growing efforts to expand influence in the region.
Officials said the Indian naval ships Satpura and Kiltan along with P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft are participating in the French Navy-led 'La Perouse' exercise. Besides India, other Quad member nations participating in the first such exercise are the US, Japan and Australia, they said.
The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India’s strategic interests. China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.
Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said the exercise will witness complex and advanced naval operations including surface warfare, anti-air warfare and air defence exercises.
He said it will also feature weapon firing exercises, cross deck flying operations and tactical manoeuvres among others. "The exercise will showcase high levels of synergy, coordination and interoperability between the friendly navies," he said.