New Delhi: Japan has pulled out of the tri-nation Malabar series of war games in the wake of the devastating earthquake-tsunami and nuclear radiation leaks, even as the Indian and the US navies will be starting the exercise on April 2 in the western Pacific Ocean.
The visit by Indian warships to the Japanese port city of Okinawa has also been called off, Navy officials said in New Delhi.
The navies of India and the US will now exercise in the western Pacific Ocean involving their destroyers, frigates and submarines.
Five Indian naval warships from its eastern fleet left Vishakhapatanam on March 12 and reached the Straits of Malacca.
The Indian flotilla comprises INS Delhi and INS Jyoti, INS Ranvijay and two R-class destroyers. The flotilla will visit Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Russia and Singapore.
Twelve exercises of the Malabar series have so far been conducted, of which, ten have been held off Indian coast and two in the Pacific.
In the two exercises in the Pacific Ocean, Japanese maritime forces have also taken part.
Recently, answering a question in Parliament, Defence Minister AK Antony had said, "The objective of conducting such exercises is to promote mutual cooperation and gain from the experience of other navies, especially in the field of advanced technology available with them."
"It also facilitates inter-operability in times of need in situations like disaster management. Such exercises offer an opportunity to gain operational skills, exchange experiences and learn the best practices of other navies," he had said.