Yesterday India and the United States kicked off the 2014 Malabar naval exercise, the latest in a series of joint exercises going back over two decades, with the Japanese navy participating as well. This serves as an opportunity for the United States to demonstrate its commitment to naval engagement in the region, to reassure nervous allies in the face of an expansionist China and to refocus the U.S.-India relationship, which is widely seen as off track.
The exercise will consist of activities on and around Japanese territory. According to a statement from the Indian navy, the exercise will include exchanges on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance activities and capabilities to interdict ships and combat piracy.
Warships from all participating countries will be involved, including three U.S. guided missile destroyers and the USS George Washington aircraft carrier. The U.S. Navy had proposed to mothball this carrier as a cost-saving measure earlier this year, and a July 1 letter from the deputy secretary of defense to the Senate Armed Services Committee reiterated that retirement might still be necessary if sequestration remains in place.