From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Exercise Group Sail
Mains level : Ensuring safe and open sea lanes
Exercise Group Sail
- Two Indian naval ships joined their counterparts from the US, Japan, and The Philippines for a “Group Sail” exercise through the contested waters of the South China Sea.
- In China, the ships took part in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy).
- The ships undertook various exercises en route which included formation manoeuvering, under way replenishment runs, cross-deck flying and exchange of sea riders.
- The group sail exercise showcased India’s commitment to operating with like-minded nations to ensure safe maritime environment through enhanced interoperability.
Importance of the exercise
- The exercise comes at a time when India has been warily looking at increased Chinese activity in the northern Indian Ocean, traditionally seen as India’s backyard.
- The presence of Chinese ships and submarines has been on the rise.
- In 2017, China opened its first overseas military facility in Djibouti and has also been investing heavily in infrastructure along Africa’s eastern coast – in Tanzania and Kenya – as part of its ambitious OBOR initiative.
- This move underlined India’s commitment to working with partners to ensure safe and open sea lanes.