“U.S.-India defence partnership at an all-time high”

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Mumbai: The U.S.-India Defence Partnership is functioning at an all-time high, said Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Senior Defence Official and Defence Attaché at the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi.

The Rear Admiral was speaking at a day-long workshop titled “Defence News Conclave: Stories of the U.S.-India Defence and Security Partnership,” organised recently by the U.S. Department of State through the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata and CUTS International.

Arguing that the U.S.-India defence partnership is important for establishing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region, the U.S. senior defence official further said that this partnership has various opportunities, such as ammunition, aircraft, underwater awareness technology, and cyber security.

He added that moving ahead, the U.S.-India strategic partnership is following a three-prong strategy, viz., defence-industrial cooperation, contemporary operational partnership, and future emerging domains for investment and partnership.

According to Rear Admiral Baker, Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin approved a new roadmap for the two countries’ defence industrial cooperation in June 2023. The roadmap framework is available online. The plan’s central goal is to collaborate to accelerate and deepen integration between the defence and industrial sectors.

Former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra (Retd. ), stated that the US-India Defence Partnership is multifaceted, multisectoral, and multidomain. He stated that the US-India comprehensive strategic partnership is based on three pillars: collaboration on Indo-Pacific local and global issues; cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces; and defence technology, defence trade, and equipment systems.

In his opening remarks, Greg Pardo, Spokesperson, US Consulate General Mumbai, stated that the US regards India as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific and vice versa. As a result, he emphasised the importance of capitalising on the momentum created by this synergy to strengthen bilateral ties, encompassing people-to-people ties as well as industrial and academic collaborations.

The workshop was divided into two sessions: the Importance of US-India Naval Collaboration and US-India Cooperation in Next-Generation Warfare. It informed the participants that the US-India bilateral defence relationship is strong and growing.

Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha (Retd.) stated that we are now entering an era of technological manoeuvres over force manoeuvres in future wars. The innovative use of dual-use technologies is increasing in gray zone and non-contact warfare.

Lt. Gen. Sanjay Verma, former Director General of Defence and Consultant at DRDO, emphasized India’s thriving private industry and its role in software, aiming to strengthen US-India cooperation.

The second session discussed India’s national security apparatus, including maritime security on Africa’s Eastern Coast and Arabian Sea, and the Strategic Defense Partnership in the Indo-Pacific.

According to KP Vijayalakshmi, Professor and Head of the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal University, interdependence and interconnectedness are the foundations of US-India naval collaboration. The best thing is the naval collaboration between the US and Indian Navy.

Cmde. Srikant B. Kesnur (Retd. ), former director of the Maritime Warfare Centre in Mumbai, stated that India and the United States could improve their maritime cooperation in some areas. The first is agreement and exchanges; the second is operational interaction; and this is where deliverables have become deliveries.

At the “Deliverables to Deliveries” dialogue, distinguished speakers included Cmde. Mukesh Bharagava, Capt. Nikunj Parashar, Shrikant Paranjpe, Alaric Diniz, Sandhya Sharma, and Rahesha Sehgal from various organizations, discussing defence and aerospace matters.

The hybrid event in Mumbai drew more than 60 representatives from the media, think tanks, defence experts, defence industry leaders, and civil society.

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