Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of the US Indo Pacific Command.
The strategic partnership between India and the US is advancing at a historic pace, a top American commander said, asserting that the two largest democracies are natural partners on a wide range of political, economic, and security issues.
Noting that the inaugural 2+2 Ministerial and signing of the COMCASA in 2018 were pivotal moments in US-India relationship, Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of the US Indo Pacific Command, said he expects the trajectory to continue.
"The US-India strategic partnership continues to advance at an historic pace as we continue to increase our interoperability and information-sharing capabilities," Davidson told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
"The US and India are natural partners on a range of political, economic and security issues," he said.
With a mutual desire for global stability, support for the rules-based international order, and a Free-and-Open Indo-Pacific region, the US and India have an increased agreement on interests, including maritime security and maritime domain awareness, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and coordinated responses to natural disasters and transnational threats, Davidson said.
Over the past year, the militaries of the two nations participated in five major exercises, executed more than 50 other military exchanges, and further operationalised the 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), he said.
The LEMOA enables the US Navy to replenish supplies from Indian navy logistics platforms. The US Indo Pacific Command is working with the Indian military to operationalize the COMCASA, which will boost interoperability between the militaries, Davidson said.
"Defence sales are at an all-time high, with India operating US sourced platforms such as P-8s, C-130Js, C-17s, AH-64s, CH-47s, and M777 howitzers. Additionally, India recently agreed to a USD 2.1-billion purchase of MH-60R multi-role sea-based helicopters and is considering a number of additional US systems for purchase," he said.