Maldives has declined India's invitation to participate in the biennial naval exercise Milan, according to Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.
The war games are scheduled to take place at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from March 6-13.
Talking to media persons on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi, Admiral Sunil Lanba said that Maldives has not given any reason for declining the invitation.
Over 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the exercise, he added.
Responding to a question on China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific region, Lanba said there has been no change in the pattern of their deployment.
“We are aware of the Chinese activities in Indian Ocean region. Their pattern of deployment has remained same since many years. At any time, there are 8-10 ships in the Indian Ocean,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The exercise is taking place in the backdrop of China's growing military posturing in the Indo-Pacific region and PTI quoted officials as saying that the issue is likely to figure during deliberations among navy chiefs of the participating countries at the event.
India, the US and several other nations have been pressing for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea.