Japan a permanent member of Malabar drills since 2015

Malabar is an annual naval exercise between the US and India. This year is the fifth time Japan has participated in the drills. Japan first took part in the exercise in 2007 together with Australia and Singapore. After protests from China, the drills were restored to a bilateral event by the Indian government. However, Japan later joined the drills in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Last year, Malabar was officially expanded to be a trilateral event, with Japan included as a permanent member. A Chinese military expert said in a phone interview that the drills are aimed at creating disturbances in the East China Sea.

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