INDIA. Mumbai: Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy who is on a official visit to India, till October 15, called on Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General. Bipin Rawat and other higher-ups and held discussions with them on Tuesday.
The discussions were primarily focused on the Indian Ocean. Admiral Gilday is also scheduled to embark on the US Navy Carrier Strike Group, participating in an ongoing Exercise Malabar II, off the East Coast of India, along with an Indian delegation.
During the visit, Admiral Gilday will interact with high-ranking Government of India officials. He is also scheduled to visit the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command in Mumbai and Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam (Hyderabad).
As the Quad (the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, Australia, India, and Japan) group of countries began the Phase II of the Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, Admiral Gilday said the exercise could expand and it is up to the partners inside the Quad to discuss that. In a virtual interaction with journalists, Admiral Gilday said that the India-U.S. relationship was central to a peaceful, free and stable Indo-Pacific.
India and the USA have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations. The Defence relationship between the two countries has been one of mutual trust and confidence, which has transformed after the accord of major ‘Defence Partner Status’ to India in June 2016. In addition, both countries have concluded certain foundational agreements, which include the Defence Framework Agreement, signed in 2015, which lays a blueprint for collaboration between the defense establishments of both countries.
The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in 2016, is a foundational agreement facilitating reciprocal logistics support between the Armed Forces of both countries, the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) signed on September 06, 2018, facilitates information-sharing between the Armed Forces of both nations. The recent Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA), enables sharing of geo-spatial information between the Ministry of Defence and National Geospatial Agency (NGA), USA, an official statement said.
The Indian Navy closely cooperates with the US Navy on numerous issues, which include operational interactions such as the MALABAR and the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) series of exercises, training exchanges, exchange of White Shipping Information and Subject Matter Experts in various fields, all of which are coordinated through the medium of Executive Steering Group (ESG) meetings conducted annually. In addition, warships from both Navies regularly make port calls at each other’s ports. Both Navies have also been cooperating towards exploring new avenues for collaboration with a shared aim of a ‘Free, Open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”, the statement added.
In the meanwhile, the second phase of the high-voltage Malabar II exercise featuring the navies of all four Quad countries — India, the US, Australia, and Japan — began in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday. The US has deployed its nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier, Carl Vinson, for the four-day mega war game. The exercises aim at building on the coordination and interoperability achieved during the first phase held in August, the Indian Navy said in a statement.
The Indian Navy has deployed INS Ranvijay, INS Satpura, P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, and a submarine. The US Navy is represented by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, and two destroyers, USS Lake Champlain and USS Stockdale. Japan has sent the JS Kaga and the JS Murasame, while the Royal Australian Navy is represented by HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius.
Separately, the Indian Navy is also preparing to conduct its first tri-service exercise with the UK in the Arabian Sea later this month. The Royal Navy will send a carrier strike group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, for the drills that will be conducted from October 21 to 27 October, officials said.