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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Clarification: Fearing China, India pulls out of war games

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 15, 2013
First Published: 00:12 IST(15/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:14 IST(15/5/2013)

In response to the article, "Fearing China, India pulls out of war games," carried on May 13, the Ministry of Defence's spokesperson, Sitanshu Kar, sent a rejoinder.

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He wrote, "At no point has the Ministry of Defence proposed to conduct Exercise Malabar 2013 off Guam or off Okinawa. The Ministry of Defence is also not aware of any visit undertaken by naval officials of the US and/or Japan to India to discuss the possibility of a trilateral exercise. Hence, the qustion of the Ministry 'boycotting' such consultations does not arise."

"Exercise Malabar is a bilateral naval exercise conducted between the Indian and US Navies. The policy hitherto followed by the Ministry is that although Exercise Malabar is a bilateral exercise between the Indian and US Navies, Japan is included when the exercise is conducted off the coast of Japan."

Hindustan Times's response is to note that its article never claimed that India proposed to conduct the Malabar exercise off the coast of Guam or Okinawa. The article only said the US and Japan wished to hold such an exercise, with the idea of labelling them Malabar. The Ministry of Defence may be unaware of the US and Japanese officials visit since that was handled through diplomatic channels - but the visit did happen.

The ministry's definition of Exercise Malabar is interesting, but irrelevant. It is also factually incorrect: Malabar 07 included the navies of the US, Japan, India and two other countries in the Bay of Bengal.


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