Indo-US Defence ties – Senior US commander Gen Clarke meets Army Chief Naravane
India and US top Defence brass on Thursday discussed the entire gamut of defence ties besides the Afghanistan situation during talks between Army Chief General M M Naravane and US Special Operations Command chief General Richard D Clarke here. Gen Clarke is on a three-day visit. Giving details of the talks, Indian Army officials said that various dimensions of bilateral defence cooperation including ways to further strengthen them were discussed.
“General Richard D Clarke, Commander United States Special Operations Command #USSOCOM called on General M M Naravane #COAS (Chief of the Army Staff) and discussed issues of mutual interest,” the Indian Army said in a tweet. Before meeting Naravane, the US General laid a wreath at the National War Memorial. “The visit will enhance defence cooperation and military ties between the two nations,” the Indian Army said.
Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years. In October last year, India and the United States sealed the BECA to further boost the bilateral defence ties.
The Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years. In October last year, India and the United States sealed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) to further boost the bilateral defence ties. The pact provides for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics, and geospatial maps between the two countries. The firming up of the BECA came two years after the two countries signed another pact called COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) that provides for interoperability between the two militaries and the sale of high-end technology by the US to India.
In June 2016, the US designated India as a “Major Defence Partner”, intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with the country to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. The two countries had also inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies as well as provides for deeper cooperation.
“Our partnership with India is vital in the Indo-Pacific, and our teamwork helps in provide security throughout the region,” Clarke said. “Whether we’re training together in exercises, or cooperating in many other areas, our relationship with India is strong and continues to grow. I want to thank the Indian defense team for their leadership, friendship, and commitment to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” the US embassy said.
Earlier on the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar appraised Parliament about his talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday. India is clear that a political solution is the way out to resolve the present situation in Afghanistan and will “never accept any outcome which is decided by force,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
“We were very clear that there must be a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan, that there cannot be a military solution, there cannot be a takeover by use of force in Afghanistan, that we will work with the international community to ensure that political negotiations for a settlement are pursued seriously, and we would never accept any outcome which is decided by force,” he said.
On forging closer ties under the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or QUAD, Jaishankar said “Let me make it very clear that when it comes to our relations with the US, QUAD [and] Indo-Pacific, these are all our national choices which serve our national interests.”
“We look at QUAD as a platform where four countries have come together for the good of the world, who are discussing a range of issues from making and providing vaccines to education and connectivity to maritime security,” he said. Any narrative about the QUAD not based on reality will never gain traction, and India’s work with international partners “will help to deal with many regional and global challenges,” the Minister said. The QUAD grouping includes India, the US, Japan, and Australia.