Partnerships

Why India is Important to U.S. Defense

Jan. 7, 2019 | BY Katie Lange

Over the past decade, the U.S.-India defense relationship has become indispensable in promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

In fact, America’s oldest and largest geographic combatant command changed its name last year from U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, specifically to highlight the importance of South Asia and the Indian Ocean region to its mission.

A Marine and a sailor salute an Indian naval vessel.
Saluting Silhouettes
A Marine and a sailor salute the Indian guided missile destroyer INS Rajput from the deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage during a training event in the Indian Ocean, Dec. 26, 2018.
Photo By: Marine Corps Sgt. Victoria Decker
VIRIN: 181226-M-AG794-1331C

Indopacom’s commander, Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, visited New Delhi this week and participated in a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue,  titled "Indo-Pacific:  Ancient Waterways, Emerging Geometries." The yearly forum has emerged as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and security and is attended by global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society. 

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India and the U.S. have a lot of shared principals: both nations believe in sovereignty, free and fair trade, keeping to international standards and resolving disputes peacefully. In fact, India was designated a major U.S. defense partner in 2016.

Service members salute a dignitary.
Ceremony Salute
Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, walk through an honors ceremony at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2018. India and the U.S. are global partners in defense and security and are working together to assure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Robin W. Peak
VIRIN: 181206-N-WY954-031C
Sailors salute a dignitary.
Global Partners
Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is piped ashore from the destroyer USS Michael Murphy following a tour of the ship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2018. India and the U.S. are global partners in defense and security and are working together to assure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Randi Brown
VIRIN: 181206-N-QB805-136C

So what does this major partnership look like?

Here are some of the long-term strategies that the U.S. and India are working on:

1
Military leaders pledged in June to broaden military-to-military engagements, including more maritime activities.
Ships sail in formation.
Set Sail
Ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy sail in formation during Malabar 2018 in the Philippine Sea, June 15, 2018.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano
VIRIN: 180615-N-VI515-648C
2
Both nations are committed to combating terrorism by strengthening intelligence and information sharing, screening for terrorists and monitoring their use of the internet.
3
Since 2008, the U.S. has provided anti-terrorism training for 1,200 Indian security personnel.
4
A group that’s been meeting since 2002 to discuss high-technology issues of mutual interest has worked to facilitate defense trade between U.S. and Indian businesses.
5
The recent signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement allows both India and the U.S. to operate on the same communication systems, enabling further opportunities for interoperability in military engagements.
6
Under the India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision – which affirms the two nations’ shared views for prosperity and stability in the region – they are working together to develop a roadmap leveraging efforts to improve security architecture and strengthen regional dialogues.

A service member paints a student's face.
Maritime Forces
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Raya Pledger, assigned to the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, paints a student's face in Chennai, India, Sept. 7, 2017.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Erickson Magno
VIRIN: 170712-N-UT295-200C
Sailors are greeted by locals.
Local Greeting
Sailors are greeted by locals on their arrival to the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Secondary School in Chennai, India, July 11, 2017.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Erickson B. Magno
VIRIN: 170712-N-UT295-028C

As India continues to position itself as a global power and security partner in the Indian Ocean region, defense officials said the U.S. and Indopacom will continue to make the country a priority partnership through cooperation, dialogue and trust.

Sailors plant a tree with students.
Tree Planting
Sailors plant a tree at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Secondary School in Chennai, India, July 12, 2017.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Erickson B. Magno
VIRIN: 170712-N-UT295-273