Unperturbed by Beijing's protests and what can be seen as an attempt to check China's aggressive posturing in the region, navies of US, Japan and India are carrying out the Malabar Naval Exercise-2017, which began on Monday.
Aimed at strengthening the military ties between the three nations, the exercise will see participation of 16 ships, two submarines and more than 95 aircraft.
An Indian Navy statement said that the exercise will go a long way in strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing of best practices between the Indian, Japanese and US Navies.
In an apparent reference to China, TOI quoted a US commander as saying that the exercise would have a significant impact on India's eastern neighbour.
"They will know that we are standing together and that it is better to stand together," TOI quoted the US commander as saying.
Taking part in the trilateral naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal would be US Ship Nimitz (CVN68), guided missile cruise USS Princeton (CG59), guided missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG83), USS Shoup (DDG86) and USS Kidd (DDG100), a Poseidon P-8A aircraft as well as a Los Angeles fast-attack submarine.
Besides, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force ships JS Izumo (DDH 183), JS Sazanami (DD1 13) along with Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa and INS Vikramaditya would participate in the joint Naval exercise, an official press release said.
Flag officer Chief, India's Eastern Naval Command, HCS Bisht reportedly said Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean is well known and that there is a mechanism in place to monitor the movement.
China will keep a close watch on the exercise due to the sheer size of the exercise, especially at a time when China is flexing its muscle in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.