Days before the planned 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of India and therefore the US, the Indian Army’s vice-chief is about to go to the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command to spice up military cooperation between the 2 sides.
Lt Gen SK Saini, the vice-chief of the military staff, will visit the US during October 17-20, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity. The 2+2 dialogue is predicted to be held in New Delhi during October 26-27, with secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark Esper set to go to India for the talks.
“The vice-chief of the Indian Army will visit the United States Army Pacific Command (USARPRAC), the military component of the Indo-Pacific Command, and extensively exchange ideas with the American military leadership,” said one among the people cited above.
“The vice-chief also will witness training and equipment capabilities of us Army. The aim of the visit is to strengthen military cooperation between the two armies,” the person said.
Saini also will visit the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, where different aspects of military cooperation and “furthering military-to-military engagement, including procurements from the US, training in niche domains, joint exercises and capability-building” are getting to be discussed, the person said.
The visit is predicted to strengthen the operational and strategic collaboration between the two armies. The people described this collaboration as robust, remarking that India goes ahead with participation in two joint exercises with the US despite restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
These exercises are Yudh Abhyas, set for February 2021, and Vajra Prahar, set for March next year.
Cooperation for ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific that’s in line with a rules-based order is predicted to be attention area for both the vice-chief’s visit and thus the 2+2 ministerial dialogue, the people said.
The Indo-Pacific Command is that the US military’s largest unified commands which cover a neighborhood of over 260 million sq km. Its name was changed from the Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command in 2018 to reflect the greater emphasis on South Asia, and particularly India, in protecting American strategic interests.
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