Navy chief to visit Japan, joint exercises from Aug. 23

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New Delhi, Aug 19 : To strengthen security and strategic ties, two guided missile destroyers and one training ship of Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force will take part in an exercise with Indian Navy from August 23-26.

PASSEX 2008, scheduled on the western seaboard, will see participation of one Delhi class and one Corvette class ships from Indian side in the over the horizon targeting and manoeuvring operations along with the Japanese Naval ships.

The Japanese ships participating in the joint exercise are JDS Kashima, a 5400 tonnes training ship along with two guided missile destroyers of 3500 tonnes - JDS Asagiri and JDS Umigiri.

India and Japan held their first-ever joint naval exercise near the Boso Peninsula in central Japan on April 16, 2007. Four destroyers from Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force, three warships from the Navy took part in the six-hour long exercise.

Meanwhile, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta will leave tonight for a five-day visit to Japan from August 20-24 and then he will go to South Korea on a two-day visit. He will return back to India on August 26.

Admiral Mehta will meet Japanese Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba, Vice Minister of Defence, Chief of Joint Staff and Chief of Maritime Security.

During Admiral Mehta's visit the focus will be on ship building and he will be visiting naval bases at Tokyo, Yokosuka, Kyoto and Hiroshima where shipyards are also located.

On August 24 Admiral Mehta will fly to S. Korea where he will meet Minister of National Defence Lee Sang-hee, South Korean Navy Chief and visit its naval academies in Seoul, Ulsan and Dijon.

The visit of Navy Chief Admiral Mehta will help in boosting India's defence ties with Japan and South Korea. By Praful Kumar Singh

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