US Wants Significant Naval Ties With India To Protect Sea Lanes

Recog­nis­ing India s grow­ing mar­itime pow­er, the Unit­ed States wants to main­tain a ’sig­nif­i­cant’ rela­tion­ship with India to help pro­vide a sta­ble and secure inter­na­tion­al ship­ping lane.

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With the largest and the fastest grow­ing navy in the Indi­an Ocean Region, the US sure­ly can­not secure the vast IOR on it’s own. 

India will be pro­vid­ing staff per­son­nel for the ongo­ing Rim of the Pacif­ic Exer­cise (RIMPAC) 2012 exer­cise which is to be held on June 27th till August 7th. India and 21 oth­er nations are par­tic­i­pat­ing in what is described as the world’s largest inter­na­tion­al mar­itime exer­cise which will be held in and around the Hawai­ian Islands with 42 ships, six sub­marines, more than 200 air­craft and 25,000 personnel. 

“The part­ner­ships we are build­ing dur­ing the RIM exer­cise is exact­ly why we want to main­tain our rela­tion­ship with India to help pro­vide a sta­ble and secure inter­na­tion­al com­merce through the sea lanes,” Vice Admi­ral Ger­ald Bea­man, com­man­der of the US Third Fleet and RIMPAC, said. “So I believe our rela­tion­ship with India will remain sig­nif­i­cant through the com­ing years,” Bea­man said not­ing that India and the US have been doing a large num­ber of bilat­er­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es in recent years. 

With 22 dif­fer­ent nations par­tic­i­pat­ing, the exer­cise in the com­ing years can expand in a coali­tion envi­ron­ment. How­ev­er, Vice Admi­ral Ger­ald Bea­man was quick to point out that the objec­tive of the exer­cise was not to build a coali­tion of the East Asia Pacif­ic rim nations on the lines of NATO, minus Chi­na, which was not invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate for rea­sons that the US com­man­der was at a loss to explain. 

The RIMPAC exer­cise has grown in size from three par­tic­i­pat­ing nations in 1971 to 22 this year, Bea­man said: “It’s just who­ev­er — like­mind­ed nations try­ing to get train­ing val­ue out of work­ing in a coalition.” 

“The sig­nif­i­cance for, I think, all 21 oth­er nations for India s par­tic­i­pa­tion is again to build the rela­tion­ships,” he said point­ing out that the theme for RIMPAC 2012 is “Capa­ble, Adap­tive Part­ners.” “We are try­ing to devel­op those part­ner­ships,” he said, so that “we know what we can bring to the table in the event of a cri­sis or a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, and we can rely on each oth­er to assist. 

The earth­quake and tsuna­mi that hit Japan over a year ago was one clear exam­ple of the ben­e­fits of hav­ing par­tic­i­pat­ed in exer­cis­es, Bea­man said. 


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