Eight countries including Japan hold joint maritime drills in Indian Ocean

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force says it took part in a multinational maritime exercise in the Indian Ocean.

Eight countries took part in the exercise hosted by the French Navy on Monday and Tuesday. They included the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India.

Japan's MSDF sent a destroyer to the exercise. The participants conducted shooting drills and practiced sailing in formation.

The exercise has been held in the Indo-Pacific region since 2019. Japan has been participating from the start. This year saw the most participants so far, with eight countries.

The MSDF said the exercise strengthened cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Observers say the exercise was apparently aimed at highlighting multilateral cooperation, in view of China's growing influence in the region.