U.S. hails India’s role in Indian Ocean region

WASHINGTON (TIP): The U.S. has a “vested interest” in seeing a stable and secure maritime domain and as part of the shared vision welcomes India’s assistance to regional navies in capacity building, a top U.S. Navy official said on Wednesday. It is in India’s best interests to become an exporter of security “not only in this region but worldwide.”

“The encouraging development is that India building capacity around the world, a global nation enhancing security across the world. Overall, the security of the maritime region will increase as everybody contribute with their limited capabilities with India providing help, assistance and way forward for all those nations to help themselves,” said Admiral John Richardson, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations.

“Consistent with the joint strategic vision outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama and consistent with the U.S. rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, we are looking to strengthen the partnership with India,” he said. India had been earlier termed the “lynchpin” of the U.S. rebalance to Asia.

The Modi government had been pushing military diplomacy as a tool for deepening strategic partnerships in the Indian Ocean region. These include joint exercises, hydro graphic surveys, equipment transfer, joint training, access to military academies in India among others.

The Indian Navy last year released an updated maritime security strategy document, which says that with growing economic and military strength of the country, the national security imperatives and political interests stretched gradually “beyond the Indian Ocean Region.” “There seems little doubt today that the 21st century will be the ‘Century of the Seas’ for India and that the seas will remain a key enabler in her global resurgence,” Navy Chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan noted in the strategy document.

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Admiral Richardson said the joint working groups for cooperation on aircraft carrier technology and jet engine technology and projects under the Defense Technology Trade Initiative (DTTI) were part of the efforts to deepen the cooperation. The Indian Navy is in the process of freezing the design for its second indigenous aircraft carrier and Indo-U.S. working group is looking at the possibility of incorporating Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) of the U.S. on the carrier.

On the progress in talks, Admiral Richardson said there had been regular interactions and the U.S. Navy was ready to assist India in all stages of carrier construction.

Admiral Richardson is in India to participate in the International Fleet Review being held in Visakhapatnam. The U.S. is represented by USS Antietam, a guided missile cruiser, USS McCampbell, a guided missile destroyer, and a military band from the U.S. seventh fleet.

(Courtesy The Hindu) 

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