As many as 15 warships, two submarines and dozens of fighter jets, maritime surveillance aircraft and helicopters will participate.
The exercise comes amid China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
What is the Malabar Naval Exercise?
The Malabar Exercise, starting off as a bilateral engagement between India and the US has been held annually since 1992. It acquired trilateral status in 2015 with the entry of Japan. The exercise aimed at enhancing interoperability covers aspects including maritime interdiction and aerial combat.
The China factor
China, in recent years has emerged as an assertive military and economic power. Countries including India, Japan and the US face a common threat emanating from China.
China views the strategic trilateral as intended to hinder its expansionist ambitions.
The exercise is further being conducted against the backdrop of increasing incidence of threats like piracy and natural disasters which require better co-ordination to tackle.
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Malabar exercise comes amid heightened India-China tensions
The Malabar exercise comes amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the international border around Sikkim. In recent months, the Indian Navy has also recorded an "unusual surge" in the number of Chinese naval vessels deployed in the Indian Ocean Region.
INS Vikramaditya participating in first exercise with foreign navies
India will be deploying six to seven frontline warships, a Kilo-class submarine and the P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the 10-day exercise taking place off Chennai's coast.
India's sole aircraft carrier, the 44,570-tonne INS Vikramaditya, will for the first time since its commissioning in 2014, participate in a military exercise with foreign navies.
It will conduct operations with its MiG-29K fighter jets.
US deploys super-carrier, Japan fields helicopter destroyer
Sources revealed that the US Navy will field its 100,000-tone nuclear-powered super-carrier USS Nimitz with its F/A-18 fighter jets.
It will be accompanied by a nuclear-attack submarine, three to four destroyers and a missile cruiser.
Japan is sending its 27,000-tonne helicopter destroyer Izumo along with another warship. The Izumo, which specializes in anti-submarine operations, can carry up to nine helicopters.
United States of America (USA)