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After India, Japanese warships also hold naval exercises with Sri Lankan navy

Sri Lankan navy receives Japanese destroyers at the Colombo Port (Photo courtesy: Sri Lanka Navy)

Three Japanese warships, including a multi-purpose destroyer, arrived in Sri Lanka as part of a bilateral exercise between the two nations. Of the three warships–Kaga, Murasame and Fuyuzuki–the first two will stay back to participate in a joint naval exercise–JA- LAN EX–with the Sri Lanka Navy while Fuyuzuki will replenish and leave.

This is the second naval exercise for the Sri Lanka navy in less than a month. Just a few weeks back, it had organised exercises with the Indian Navy.

Sri Lankan media reports said all three are destroyers while Kaga is a multi-purpose operation destroyer with helicopters.

The Japanese ships arrived in Colombo from Australia. The Sri Lankan navy said that the two navies plan to conduct the exercises adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

Analysts see the exercise as a clear message to China, as India, Japan and Australia are three democracies pursuing and promoting a counter-narrative to Beijing's authoritarianism.

The Japanese warships are on the JMSDF Indo-Pacific Deployment 2021 (IPD21) task group. Before reaching Sri Lanka, they conducted an exercise in the Indian Ocean with German Navy frigate FGS Bayern, which had left German shores for the Indo-Pacific in August this year. 

The Japanese navy along with the navies of friendly countries like Germany, Australia and the US are frequently holding exercises in the Indo-Pacific waters in a message to China to keep the shipping lanes open and free.