The U.S. Navy is in the middle of a significant trilateral maritime exercise with the Indian and Japanese navy. And it just so happens that China decided it was the best time to shadow one of the U.S.’ aircraft carriers.
According to the U.S. Pacific Command, Exercise Malabar 2016 will see troops from the U.S. Navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and Indian Navy train together in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. It originally started as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States. But in 2015, the Japanese forces have also become a permanent manner. The goal of the said maritime exercise to increase everyone’s understanding of multinational operations while also exchanging cultures and skills.
During the at-sea phase of the exercise, ships will spend some time at the Philippine Sea in order to advance the participating countries’ military-to-military coordination as well as it’s abilities to plan and execute any tactical operations in a multinational environment. Meanwhile, this year’s Malabar exercises will include visit, board, search and seizure exercises as well as reconnaissance scenarios, anti-submarine warfare operations, maritime patrol and more. And all the while this has been going on, it seems one Chinese vessel has been lurking in the background.
According to a report from Vice News, Captain Gregory C. Huffman, commander of the Stennis, said, “There is a Chinese vessel about seven to 1o miles away.” The said Chinese ship had reportedly followed the Stennis from the South China Sea. So far, all the Chinese Ministry of Defense has said that one of its fleet has already set sail in time for the Rim of the Pacific multinational naval exercises it will participate in with the U.S.
As for the Chinese vessel that seems to be observing the U.S. as it undergoes maritime exercises with its other allies, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang simply said, “I don’t have any specifics at hand.”