The Indian Navy and Air Force deployed their arsenal of both Russian and Western-made aircraft during the joint exercises centred around the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Indian Ocean to ‘build on the high-calibre integration’ between the two nations, according to the US Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM) chief Rear Admiral Will Penington.
“Our nations share a common interest in a secure Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“Working collectively with like-minded nations to provide full spectrum awareness and defence of the vast Indian Ocean expanse ensures stability in the region.”
The joint drill was held on Wednesday and Thursday, when the USS Ronald Reagan, which is based in Japan, was on its way to the North Arabian Sea in preparation for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. After that, the US Navy held a separate exercise in the region with Sri Lanka and Japan, Penington told a group of Indian defence journalists , among them my friend Arul Louis.
The India-US exercises that “reinforced the converging maritime interests” of the US and India followed last month’s meeting between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the Pentagon during India’s first cabinet-level visit to Washington after President Joe Biden took office, Penington said.
The Indian Defence Ministry said on Friday, “The exercise has been a key enabler in building interoperability and strengthening the defence coordination between the two nations and witnessed high tempo-naval operations at sea.”
“The exercise has been another milestone in strengthening cooperation between the two countries and reinforcing the shared values as partner militaries, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order,” the ministry said.
Echoing the sentiment, PACOM’s Will Penington said, “Integration of Indian forces sharpen the regional maritime security construct to uphold a rules-based maritim.
Courtesy – IANS