US Navy chief to visit India next week



NEW YORK: In the trend of India and the US intensifying naval links to protect maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region, the US Navy chief will visit India next week, four days after the Indian Navy ships concluded exercises with the US and its allies in the South China Sea.

During his visit scheduled from May 12 to 14, Admiral John Richardson will meet Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and other senior Navy, military,and national security officials, the US Navy announced on Thursday.

India and the US share the vital interest of keeping the Indo-Pacific region open for trade for security while China is flexing its military muscles on the oceans.

“The strategic environment is becoming more complex and the nature of our shared challenges requires frequent discussion of our views of the maritime domain and how best our two navies can operate in line with our respective objectives,” Richardson said in the US Navy statement.

“The visit aims to further strengthenthe strategic partnership between the two navies by emphasising the importance of information sharing and exchange.”

Recent weeks have seen a flurry of naval activity and other nations that share its interests in the region.

On Wednesday, the destroyer INS Kolkata and tanker INS Shakti concluded a week of exercises with the navies of the US, Japan and the Philippines in the international waters off the South China sea, according to the US Navy.

Both the Philippines and Japan are involved in disputes with China in the region.

Separately, India has held bilateral naval exercises with Japan and the US in recent weeks.