India-US discuss cooperation in Indo-Pacific
The main India-US strategic defence coordination panel has discussed increasing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region with “like-minded partners” as security ties between the two countries expand, according to US Defence Department spokesperson Mr Anton Semelroth.
The October meeting of the US-India Defence Policy Group (DPG) co-chaired by India’s Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Colin Kahl, the US Under Secretary for Defence Policy, “discussed opportunities for enhanced cooperation with like-minded partners to sustain a free and open Indo-Pacific”, Mr Semelroth said.
Although the leaders of the Quad—the group of India, the US, Japan and Australia—have so far ruled out a defence pact component to their cooperation mainly because of New Delhi’s wariness, Indian and US leaders have spoken of expanding security cooperation in the region. The only joint action of the Quad members has been the annual Malabar naval exercises, which re-included Australia in 2020. The latest exercise took place in August.
“The (DPG) Dialogue advanced an ambitious set of bilateral priorities, including information-sharing, high-end maritime cooperation, logistics, and defence trade, reflective of the flourishing defence ties between the US and India,” Mr Semelroth said in a readout issued in Washington of the 16th meeting of the group.
“The leaders reinforced their commitment to deepening joint cooperation and interoperability between the US and Indian militaries to work more seamlessly together, including strengthening cooperation in new defence domains, such as space and cyber,” he added. The meeting of the defence officials was the latest in a series of high-level meetings between the two countries as they draw closer in the face of an aggressive posture by China in the region.