The Indian Navy is participating in a rare mine warfare exercise with the US and Japan. The Indian contingent is part of an explosive ordnance disposal team in the exercise responsible for neutralising explosives or mines dropped near harbours.
The 10-day exercise that began on July 18 is taking place off the coast of Northern Japan.
The Indian Navy was also part of this mine warfare exercise last year but only as observers, sources said.
This time, the Indian Navy divers are part of the exercises, carrying out drills to detect and neutralise explosives.
The idea is to train and be prepared to neutralise the biggest threat of mines dropped just outside harbours before ships move out during war.
This is when the assets are most vulnerable, a navy official said.
A green signal has to be given after diving teams give a clearance for naval ships to move out during war.
This role is being played by the Indian Navy in this exercise, the official explained.
During the exercise, participating units will practice unit-level mine warfare tactics which include sweeping, hunting, and mine detection, a US Navy statement said.
There has been an enhanced maritime co-operation with the navies of India, Japan and the US coming together and training in the Malabar with an aim to keep an eye on the Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean region.