The Importance of the India-Japan JIMEX 20 Naval Exercises

The recently concluded JIMEX 20 naval exercises between the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) point to a new era in the maritime ties between the two countries. These exercises were held in the North Arabian Sea from September 26 to September 28.   

JIMEX-20 encompassed multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills. This was the 4th edition of the biennial exercises and in the light of coronavirus restrictions, they were held in a  non-contact at-sea-only format.  The Indian Navy deployed the indigenous stealth destroyer INS Chennai, stealth frigate INS Tarkash and fleet Tanker Deepak while the Japanese side deployed the JS Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and the JS Ikazuchia guided missile destroyer. The exercises also involved P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and fighter aircraft. 

Why are they Significant?

First, these exercises have taken place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that JIMEX-20 continued this year too, as per the normal schedule, reflects the high priority that the two countries have placed on their defense ties, particularly in the maritime realm.

Second, they come against the backdrop of Japan sending a former SDF (Self Defense Force) officer as its Ambassador to Djibouti. This is the first time that a SDF officer has been appointed as ambassador and definitely marks a change of direction ....

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