|India Navy P-81 can be expected to participate in RIMPAC-2014|
In the past India has been invited to the exercise as an observer. Other countries invited as observers include China, Ecuador, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Russia.
Observer nations participate in the exercise without contributing ships and have the option to become participants any time in the future. Russia switched from being an observer nation to a participant in the 2012 RIMPAC exercise.
Another first time RIMPAC 2012 participant was Philippines, which likely embraced the exercise as a message to China; the two countries are locked in a territorial dispute. India's decision to participate could also be prompted by China's aggressive posture along the LAC.
The US Navy contingent to the exercise comprises of a carrier strike group, submarines (US has only nuclear powered subs) and aircraft.
It's likely that the Indian Navy will contribute its P-8I aircraft to the exercise, besides a man of war or two. The exercise should give the IN aircraft and ships a good opportunity to tune their sensors to Pacific water keeping in mind the likelihood of future face-offs in the area with PLAN.