India and the United States (US) on 16 May 2016 held the first round of discussions under the recently-constituted Maritime Security Dialogue. The dialogue was held between the officials of Defence and External Affairs ministries and their US counterparts.
The Indian side was represented by Shambhu Kumaran, Joint Secretary in-charge of Planning and International Cooperation (PIC) and Munu Mahawar, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary, Americas (AMS).
While, David Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs; Manpreet Anand, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and Vice Admiral Aucoin, Commander, US Seventh Fleet, were the officials from the American side.
Highlights of the Maritime Security Dialogue
• Both the sides discussed various issues including Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement.
• They also agreed for the white shipping technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic.
• Navy-to-Navy discussion on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare was also undertaken.
When was the Dialogue constituted?
• The dialogue was one of the several new initiatives agreed between Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter during the latter’s visit to India in April 2016.
• It was created as a part of the maritime security objectives under the India-US Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.
The newly constituted Maritime Security Dialogue between India and US is a sign of the growing relations between our two countries.
The dialogue comes as India and the US are cautiously eyeing the rise of China. The US wants its regional allies to adopt a more united stance against China over the South China Sea, where tension has spiked since China's construction of artificial islands with facilities for military use.
Even though US wants it, India had flatly refused to conduct joint naval patrols in areas including the South China Sea where Beijing has maritime disputes with several neighbours.
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