US Navy chief Admiral John Richardson has said that his recent visit to India was a "critical opportunity" to strengthen ties between the two navies and sharing views on a multilateral approach in maintaining maritime domain awareness in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
Richardson, who was on a three-day visit to India, met his Indian counterpart Admiral Sunil Lanba and other senior officers and discussed joint exercises between the two navies amid rising Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
"The two heads of navy also discussed the strategic importance of growing the two navies' partnership and the need to focus on information sharing and exchange. They also discussed their shared view on a multilateral approach in maintaining maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region,"the release said.
"Our mutual commitment and shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific enables even more opportunities for the future. We took the opportunity during the visit to discuss specific steps that will set the stage for further cooperation between our two navies," he said.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military maneuvering in the region, which is a large swathe of land and sea stretching all the way from the west coast of the US to the shores of east Africa.
Richardson also praised Admiral Lanba's vision and said that the Indian Navy chief, who is retiring later this month, has been a strong advocate for a closer partnership between our two navies, and "we have made significant progress."
"We took the opportunity during the visit to discuss specific steps that will set the stage for further cooperation between our two navies," he said.
Richardson's visit follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that the US was "banding together with like-minded nations like Australia, India, Japan and South Korea to make sure that each Indo-Pacific nation can protect its sovereignty from coercion".
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