India and the US have decided to further deepen their military-to-military ties by participating in more bilateral exercises.
The decision came during a meeting between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter on Thursday. Parrikar informed Carter about India’s decision to participate in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) multilateral naval exercise in 2016. The Indian Air Force will also participate in the multilateral Red Flag exercise in April-May 2016, said a joint statement issued after the meeting between Carter and Parrikar at the Pentagon.
The Indian decision was welcomed by Carter who expressed support for greater Air-to-Air interaction in the future. Carter announced US participation in the International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam in February 2016. Soon after the meeting, Parrikar told reporters that they reviewed the cooperation between their Armed Forces which have grown stronger.
“Today, India is conducting more military exercises with the US than with any other country,” he said. “We discussed the importance of expanding our military engagements, from the annual Malabar naval exercise this year, to India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific exercise next year. And return, for the first time in eight years to Red Flag, the premier air-to-air combat exercise,” Carter said.