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Japan, US, India Hold First Joint Maritime Drill
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Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force and US and Indian navies held a joint maritime drill on Monday in the Pacific Ocean off central Japan's Boso Peninsula.

Four destroyers from Japan's Marine Self-Defense Force, two destroyers and one depot ship from the Indian Navy, and two Aegis-equipped destroyers from the US Navy took part in the six-hour exercise, which included basic drills of communicating among each other through radio transmissions and flag signaling, Kyodo News reported.

It was the first joint military exercise among Japan, the United States and India.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi was quoted as telling a news conference that the "goodwill exercise" was aimed at fostering trust among the three nations' forces and was "not directed at any third country."

The three countries also intended to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation through the drills, Japanese foreign ministry officials said.

Japan and India promoted bilateral military communications in the past years. Chief of Staffs of Japan's ground, marine and air self-defense forces visited India respectively last year, and Indian defense minister also paid a visit to Japan in May.

During Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan last December, the two countries agreed to promote bilateral ties to the strategic global partnership level.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2007)

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