Washington, DC : Manohar Parrikar becomes first Indian Defence Minister to visit PACOM (US Pacific Command headquarters) in Hawaii. He is the first one from the ministry at the Defence Minister level to visit the key facility and this step is viewed as a strong foundation building up towards the direction of deepening military ties between the two strategic partners.
The US Pacific Command in a statement described Parrikar’s visit as a ‘milestone’ event during which he held meetings with the PACOM Commander Admiral Harry B Harris. Harris and Parrikar discussed the growth of strategic partnership between the two nations and analysed how routine, regular and predictable engagements bind in strengthening that partnership, PACOM spokesman US Army Major Dave Eastburn said.
The two also emphasized the importance of expanded maritime security cooperation within the context of broader military-to-military ties, especially in the Indo-Asia- Pacific. Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year’s Chief of Defence Conference. He said that the conference was an important venue to build the relationships that would ascertain security and stability throughout the region.
Parrikar and Harris discussed on key issues, namely — continuance of the maritime security cooperation, potential for joint US India maritime patrols, and the value of foundational agreements such as a logistics support agreement and a communications and information security memorandum of agreement. Expanding their horizons on talks, both discussed Exercises Malabar, Yudh Abhyas, Red Flag, Vajra Prahar, and RIMPAC, re-emphasising that the United States is still India’s partner of choice for exercises and military-to-military engagements.
Parrikar is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on December 10 during this visit which happens to be his maiden visit to US as Indian Defence Minister.