New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the ongoing border row with China in eastern Ladakh, India and the United States on Monday conducted a naval exercise off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

Four frontline ships of the Indian Navy carried out an exercise with US Navy carrier strike group led by nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, reported news agency PTI.

According to the report by PTI, US Navy carrier strike group comprised USS Nimitz, Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Princeton and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Ralph Johnson

The joint exercise, which is named as “PASSEX” (passing exercise), was conducted between the two navies in the midst of China’s renewed military assertiveness in eastern Ladakh and South China Sea.

“I can confirm that the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan are conducting dual-carrier operations and exercises in the South China Sea to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” news agency ANI quoted Lt Cmdr. Sean Brophy, APR+M, Public Affairs Officer for the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, as saying.

India, US, Japan, Australia and France have been deepening their mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in wake of China’s attempt to expand military influence in the resource rich region.

India-China Ladakh Standoff:

Meanwhile, tensions between India and China had increased over the last few months in eastern Ladakh that led to the violent standoff between the nations at Galwan Valley. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the standoff at Galwan while several other got injured.

According to a report by ANI, China suffered 43 casualties during the standoff. The Chinese government, however, has not revealed the officials details of the casualties it suffered at Galwan.

Meanwhile, following the standoff at Galwan, the Indian Navy increased its surveillance missions and beefed up operational deployment in the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Navy is also ramping up its operational cooperation with various friendly naval forces like the US Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force in view of the fast evolving regional security landscape.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma