To boost Indo-US cooperation in the maritime domain, the Indian Navy’s Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral G. Ashok Kumar led a multidisciplinary delegation to San Diego, United States, and undertook discussions on niche capabilities of both nations.
During the visit, G. Ashok Kumar met with the commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Admiral Steve Koehler, and visited various operational facilities of the US Navy. The purpose of the meeting was focused on the Indian and US Navy association in the area of undersea domain awareness along with cooperation in ongoing & envisaged naval projects.
Further, the delegation visited Undersea Warfighting Development Center, Submarine Squadron 11, Undersea Rescue Command, Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and interacted with multiple agencies involved in mutual naval projects.
The commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Admiral Steve Koehler in an official communique said “The India-US strategic partnership is one of our most critical relationships in the Indo-Pacific.”
Discussion on shared and complementary capabilities not only strengthens the relationship between the two countries but also increases the naval effectiveness, which would ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Koehler added.
By reinforcing their partnership, the Indian and U.S navies have been working in a shared desire to maintain a rules-based international order along with other partners and allies to demonstrate a collective commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Notably, an integral part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. 3rd Fleet operates naval forces in the Indo-Pacific region, which provides realistic and relevant training across all domains of military operations. The spectrum of military operations comprises battle operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief among others.
Additionally, U.S. Pacific Fleet works in close association with other numbered fleets to enable commanders with capable forces to deploy in time of emergency.
The Indo – US Navy ‘Passage Exercise’
Earlier last month on 23 and 24 June 2021, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kochi and INS Teg along with P8I and MiG 29K aircraft participated in a ‘Passage Exercise’ with US Navy Carrier Strike Group Ronald Reagan in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) engaged in the joint multi-domain operations with the Carrier Strike Group comprising Nimitz class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey and Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh.
The two-day exercise was aimed at strengthening the bilateral ties and cooperation by demonstrating the ability to integrate and coordinate comprehensively in the sea operations.
Notably, India and the US Navy undertake a host of bilateral and multilateral exercises on a regular basis to highlight the shared values as partner navies.