September 05, 2007

Five-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal

Warships from five nations, India, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore have started a joint navy exercise in the Bay of Bengal. reports:
Malabar-2007, as the Sep 4-9 exercise is named, features 25 vessels participating in a variety of manoeuvres. Given the vast scope of the war games, the operational area of Malabar-2007 stretches from Visakhapatnam on the eastern seaboard to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that guard the approaches to the Strait of Malacca, considered the world's busiest waterway.
Indian left wing communist parties are protesting against this drill.

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta writes in Desicritics:
The main purpose of these wargames is to make sure that navies of various regions work together....and more importantly, because of the HUGE distances involved, require all navies to pull together when faced with terrorist and pirate threats.
If this was about fighting pirates then Bangladesh would have been included in the drill as Bangladeshi ships are also attacked by pirates.

mydearBangladesh blog uncovers the story behind it:
The Malabar series is now in its 13th year. The drill has previously been a bilateral India-US engagement and has been expanded for the first time to also include Japan, Australia and Singapore. So, tension is slowly building up in Asia to stop China becoming more powerful.

Read this BBC commentary on China's displeasure about new 'strategic alliance' against it:

"Defence papers issued by all four governments have described China as a potential threat, and that combined with the launch of the Quad suggest a pattern of alliance-building activities that China cannot ignore.

Perhaps as a sign of things to come, 1,600 Chinese troops travelled to Russia's Ural mountains to join several thousand mostly Russian troops in "Peace Mission 2007" manoeuvres in August."


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