US And Indian Navies Are Now Securely Sharing Information, Says Commander Of The US Indo-Pacific Command
The two countries recently signed agreements to facilitate the sharing of unclassified geospatial data, and for the transfer of technologies to support defence production.
Admiral Philip S Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, has said that the Indian and the US navies have started sharing information securely.
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing in Washington DC, the commander said the ‘navy-to-navy’ information sharing agreement between India and the US was signed in November 2020.
Admiral Davidson also underlined that the two countries have recently signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement or BECA to facilitate the sharing of unclassified geospatial data and the Industrial Security Annex for the transfer of technologies to support defence production.
Calling India-US relationship the “defining partnership of the 21st century”, the commander said India has substantially increased the purchase of defence equipment from the US and that defence sales to India are at a all time high.
“We expect substantial progress on interoperability and information sharing, service-level and joint military-to-military cooperation and exercise like Tiger Triumph and Malabar, and an increase in quadrilateral cooperation between India, Australia, Japan and the United States...,” he said.
Admiral Davidson said the United States strongly supports the establishment of an information fusion centre by India, adding that it will improve maritime security and awareness in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
This comes ahead of the visit of the US’ newly appointed US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is likely to be in India next week. During his visit, Austin will hold talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and is likely to meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and may call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The news of his likely visit to New Delhi comes just days after the Joe Biden Administration released its interim guidance on national security, in which it called China’s behaviour aggressive and said it will work with its partners to counter it. It said China is the “only competitor” of the US which is capable of mounting a “sustained challenge to a stable and open international system”.
The guidance document was released only hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered his first major speech on foreign policy. He said the US’ relationship with China “will be competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be and adversarial when it must be”.
The Secretary of State also called the US’ relationship with China the “biggest geopolitical test” of the twenty-first century.
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