Indo-Pacific Current Affairs - 2019

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Facts Box: Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

The Indo-Pacific Initiative was proposed by PM Modi for a safe and secure maritime at the East Asia Summit. This indicates that India is ready to play a bigger role in the region where China has been pushing its military assertiveness.

Facts of Indo-Pacific Initiative

  • The idea of the initiative was mooted by the PM when he addressed the East Asia Summit in Thailand.
  • The main objective of the initiative is to achieve safe, secure and a stable maritime domain.
  • The initiative aims to achieve this by creating partnerships among interested states by sustainably using marine resources.
  • To take the initiative forward, India will organize a Indo-Pacific Conclave in Chennai early next year.
  • Japan, Australia and Thailand support the initiative already. And many more ASEAN countries are expected to express their support to the initiative in the near future.
  • The initiative is considered by the experts as an incremental step to the Shangri la dialogue.

Significance of the initiative

  • This will give confidence to minor players of ASEAN that their role in the region will not be diluted
  • It will ensure freedom of navigation, freedom of overflights and the disputed are resolved as per international conventions

US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations visits India

Chief of Naval Operations of US Navy, Admiral John Michael Richardson is on a three day official tour to India. The tour is scheduled from 12 to 14 May 2019 and during his visit he will meet Indian Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba in New Delhi.

Key Highlights

  • Purpose: Admiral John Richardson visit to India is amid rising Chinese influence in Indo-Pacific region. This is part of US strategy of grouping together with like-minded countries like India, South Korea, Australia and Japan to make sure that each Indo-Pacific nation can protect its sovereignty from coercion. It refers to coercive activities undertaken by China in South China Sea (SCS) which have become a flashpoint for US-China relations in Asia.
  • Aim: The visit by US Navy Chief is intended to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and USA and as well as explore new avenues for naval cooperation between two nations.
  • Discussions: Major issues to be discussed during visit include information exchange, capacity building, operations and exercises, capability enhancement and training interactions.
  • Significance: The visit emphasizes the importance of information sharing and exchange between two defence partners. This will further strengthen strategic partnership between the Indian Navy and US Navy.

India-US Defence Relation

  • India-US ties has seen a significant growth in recent years.
  • In 2016, USA accorded India a Major Defence Partner status.
  • In September 2018 the inaugural Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue conducted between two nations (India and US), facilitated new avenues for defence cooperation among them.
  • Indian Navy and US Navy interact regularly at various bilateral and multilateral forums. They also participate in several maritime exercises like MALABAR and RIMPAC.
  • Other than Defence Exercise many Regular Subject Matter Expert exchange also takes place between both navies to establish interoperability in various fields.