US looking to make significant contributions to India’s strategic capabilities: Richard Verma

Hawaii: U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, has said that his nation is looking to make significant contributions to India’s strategic capabilities, such as the anti-surface warfare capabilities of the Indian Navy’s submarine fleet.

“And, I don’t need to remind you of the historic agreement to establish a joint working group on aircraft carrier technology. At some point in the next decade India will launch its next generation of aircraft carrier and the United States will have played a direct role in its construction,” he added.

Verma expressed his delight over the fact that India engages in more bilateral exercises with the United States than it does with any other country.

“In a few weeks the USS Theodore Roosevelt will visit the Indian Ocean to take part in the annual MALABAR 2015 naval exercise, with the joint participation of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. We look forward to the participation by the Indian Air Force in exercise RED FLAG-Alaska next year and the YUDH ABHYAS exercise will continue to expand the interoperability of our armies,” said Verma.

“Our bilateral Special Forces exercise VAJRA PRAHAR will resume again in January 2016 for the first time since 2012. This is the tempo of a defense relationship between two forces determined to forge a new level of cooperation, and breaking down historical barriers to do so,” he added.

The US envoy said a crucial pillar of our close relationships with our European and Asian allies is the rapport and fraternity between our armed forces.

“One of the most exciting developments I have witnessed over the past eight months has been the transformation of the ties between the United States and Indian militaries. Just a few years ago our armed forces were barely talking. They were skeptical about the utility of increased cooperation and, frankly, mutually suspicious. That is not the case today,” said Verma.

“We have overseen a remarkable expansion of bilateral training, exercises, and sales of advanced weapons systems to the Indian military. Our defense industrial systems are now cooperating on the co-production of new technology that will be used by our respective armed forces,” he added in his remarks on “An Alliance for Global Prosperity” at EWC, Hawaii,.

The US Ambassador said a truly global partnership involves jointly addressing threats to stability and prosperity wherever they occur in the world and our governments are already working closely to address security challenges far from our shores.

“Our respective militaries will work together to jointly train UN peacekeepers on the ground in several African countries. We are looking to our historic relief collaboration after the Nepal earthquake as a springboard, to increase joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the region, and beyond. India is already taking unprecedented actions beyond its borders,” he added.

Verma further said the United States was deeply grateful for the Indian Armed Forces evacuation of American citizens from Yemen in April.

“Our governments are also keenly focused on the threat to our societies and the cyber commons posed by radical ideologies, and are talking at high levels about joint strategies to address this developing phenomenon – approaches involving religious leaders, internet providers, local police departments and social media outlets,” he added. (ANI)