New Delhi, June 29: Even as tensions continue to simmer with China, India conducted a joint drill with the Japanese in the Indian Ocean.
INS Rana and INS Kulish, the two warships of the Indian Navy conducted an exercise with JS Kashmir and JS Shimayuki of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force in the Indian Ocean.
It may be recalled that a few days back the JMSDF ships had taken part in a drill with the USS Gabrielle Giffords of the US Navy in the South China Sea. The JMSDF confirmed that it had undertaken two back to back drills with the warships of the US and Indian Navy.
China is now embroiled in a maritime dispute with Japan. Japan has begun the legal process of complete integration of an island chain over which it has a dispute with China.
The Ishigaki city council in Japan's Okinawa passed a bill to change the name of an administrative area covering the disputed uninhibited island chain to Tonoshiro Senkaku from Tonoshiro effective October 1. The island lies 1,931 kilometres southwest of Tokyo.
The legal status of the island, which the Chinese call as Diaoyus has been administered by Japan since 1972.
Following the development, China warned Tokyo against any change in the status-quo.
China urged Japan to abide by the spirit of the four principle consensus. It was also urged Japan to avoid creating new incidents on the islands and take practical actions to maintain the stability of the East China Sea situation.
Japan on the other hand said that the bill was necessary to improve the efficiency of the administration.
The Sneak Islands are located in the East China Sea between Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The archipelago contains five uninhibited islands and three barren rocks.
Tensions between the two countries dates back to several 100s of years. Neither Japan nor China are likely to backdown over territory considered as a birthright by the two. In case there is an unexpected flare up between China and Japan, it could trigger a military confrontation with the United States.
This is because the US has a mutual defence treaty with Japan and if Japanese territory is attacked by a foreign power, the US is obligated to defend it. There have been tensions simmering since the Japanese coastguard announced that Chinese government ships had been spotted in the waters close to Senakaku everyday since mid-April.
China says that its claim to the islands dates back to the 1400s. Japan on the other hand said that it saw no trace of any Chinese control of the islands in a survey conducted in 1885. Hence it has been formally recognised as Japanese sovereign territory in 1895.
Further a group of settlers manufactured dried fish and collected feathers with the islands have more than 200 inhabitants, according to the foreign ministry of Japan.
Japan then sold the islands in 1932 to the descendants of the original settlers. However the island was eventually deserted after the factory failed in 1940. After the World War II, the islands were administered by the US occupation force. However in 1972, US returned the islands to Japan as part of its withdrawal.