Admiral Michael Gilday, highest ranking United States Naval officer, on a five-day visit to India

Published : October 13, 2021 10:09 IST

Admiral Michael Gilday (left), United States Chief of Naval Operations, with Admiral Karambir Singh, India’s Chief of the Naval Staff. Photo: PTI

Admiral Michael Gilday, United States Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), presently the highest-ranking officer on active duty in the United States Navy, held extensive talks with the Indian Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh on October 12 . The meeting between the two comes amidst deepening bilateral maritime security cooperation between the navies of the two countries and in the backdrop of increasing Chinese muscle-flexing in the Indian Ocean region and the Indo-Pacific.

Admiral Gilday is on a five-day visit to India from October 11 to 15.

Besides his interactions with Admiral Karambir Singh, the CNO will meet with other high ranking government officials. Admiral Gilday is also scheduled to visit the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command (at Mumbai) and Eastern Naval Command (at Visakhapatnam) where he will interact with the respective Commanders-in-Chief. Admiral Gilday is also scheduled to embark the United States Navy (US N) Carrier Strike Group off the Indian East Coast along with members of an Indian delegation.

The Carrier Strike Group, led by the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, is currently participating in the second phase of the Malabar Exerciss (October 12-15) now underway in the Bay of Bengal. The navies of all four Quad countries (India, the U.S,, Australia, and Japan) are participating in the Malabar Exercise.

India and the United States have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations. The partnership climbed a few notches in June 2016 after the U.S. accorded “Major Defence Partner” status to India. In addition, both countries have concluded certain foundational agreements, including the Defence Framework Agreement signed in 2015, that lays a blueprint for collaboration between the defence establishments of both countries; the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in 2016, which is a foundational agreement facilitating reciprocal logistics support between the Armed Forces of both countries; and the Communications Compatibility and the Security Agreement (COMCASA) signed in September 2018, facilitating information-sharing between the Armed Forces of both nations.

More recently, the two countries signed the Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which enables sharing of geo-spatial information between the Ministry of Defence and the National Geospatial Agency (NGA), U.S.

Commander Vivek Madhwal, Indian Navy Spokesperson, said: “A range of issues including the regional security scenario, the situation in the Indo-Pacific and ways to further expand bilateral maritime cooperation figured in the talks. Both the Indian and the United States. navies have also been cooperating towards exploring new avenues for collaboration with a shared aim of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”

After laying a wreath at the National War Memorial, Admiral Gilday said that India had a “long and distinguished record” of contributing to global security. Tweeted Admiral Gilday: “Thank you Admiral Singh and the @indiannav for hosting me during my visit to India. We are committed to operationalising our #USIndiaDefense partnership, including through enhanced information-sharing, regional security, and exercising at sea together.”

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