Indo-US Defence Ties Growing At Terrific Rate

3 May 2016

The Indo-US defence ties, growing at a "terrific" rate, has a "maritime dimension", a top American naval admiral has said amid reports that the two strategic partners are in talks to help each other track submarines in the Indian Ocean.

"Those type of operational details are something we can't comment here," Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John M Richardson told Pentagon reporters during an off camera briefing when asked about news reports.

However, Richardson said there is a "maritime dimension" to the "terrific growing" India US defence relationship.

He was recently in India for the international fleet review maritime exercise in Visakhapatnam which saw participation of 100 ships from 60 nations.

"There is short of a growing awareness of the changing dynamics there. You could really sense there are a lot of emerging partnerships in the region as things continue to change there. So very very dynamic situation. So we just have to monitor that closely. We would be involved with our partners to the degree that it meets both of our interests," he said.

Richardson said in general there is a lot of emerging opportunities.

The last Malabar exercise was a pretty high end exercise involving the US, Japan and India.

"I think that there is initial sense that the next Malabar might include the same partners," he said in response to a question.

State Department spokesman John Kirby also refrained from commenting on US-India co-operation on submarine activities in the Indian Ocean region.

"We value our trade relationship with India. We very much want to see it continue to grow and improve and mature. We also value our military-to-military relationship with India and we want to see them grow and mature and improve as well," he said.

"But I don't have anything specific to say with respect to Chinese naval activity in and around the region. The United States Navy takes very seriously its role and its commitment to protecting freedom of the seas so that commerce can flow safely, effectively, and efficiently around the world, and that's a very serious responsibility of our naval forces, and they're very capable of doing that," Kirby said.

"I'm just not going to be able to comment specifically about the nature of the question with respect to Chinese naval activity there.

"Our Navy exists for many purposes, but one of them is to help ensure freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas. And they do that job masterfully and very competently and the particulars of how they accomplish that mission is really for them to speak to," he said.


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