New Delhi: Japanese Navy is likely to be part of the joint Indo-US Naval exercise 'Malabar' slated for later this year, a development which may not go down well with China.
Government sources said a decision has been taken to include Japan in the bilateral exercise.
"A joint invitation will be sent soon asking the Japanese Navy to be part of Malabar, 2015. Further modalities are being worked out," the sources said.
The exercise is slated to be held in October in the Bay of Bengal.
'Malabar' is an annual naval training exercise conducted by Indian and American navies, which includes fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers and other manoeuvres.
Japan had last taken part in the Malabar hosted by India in 2007. However, a strong reaction from China against the inclusion of Japan and Australia in 2007 led to the exercises being largely kept bilateral.
The decision comes after the three countries held their first-ever high-level trilateral dialogue last month which was attended by foreign secretary S Jaishankar, Japanese vice foreign minister Akitaka Saiki and Australian secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese.
While they discussed a range of issues, maritime security, including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and trilateral maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, topped the agenda.
Japanese vice foreign minister Saiki had said India, Japan and Australia are on the "same page" over increasing assertiveness of China in the disputed South China Sea.
Asserting that an aggressive posture was a matter of grave concern to his country, Saiki had said the issue was discussed at length.