Vice Chief of Army visits US Indo-Pacific Command


PTI, Oct 20, 2020, 8:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Vice Chief of Army Lieutenant General SK Saini on Tuesday visited the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii and held talks with senior American military commanders on ways to enhance strategic cooperation between the two forces, officials said.

The US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), comprising over 3,75,000 military and civilian personnel, is one of the largest unified formations of the US armed forces and it is tasked to protect Washington’s interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

The visit by the Vice Chief of Army Staff to the Command comes in the backdrop of renewed efforts between India and the US to bolster cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, which has been witnessing growing Chinese muscle-flexing.

Military officials said Lieutenant General Saini interacted with Lieutenant General Mike Minihan, Deputy Commander of the Command, on military cooperation and future engagements between the two forces.

The Vice Chief of Army Staff is on a four-day visit to the US from Saturday.

Lieutenant General Saini also visited the 25th Infantry Division Lightning Academy of the US Army where he interacted with troops and witnessed a jungle training session.

“Lt Gen SK Saini #VCOAS #IndianArmy visited US Army 25th Infantry Division Lightning Academy. He interacted with troops after witnessing Jungle Training & Chinook Helicopter Sling Load Carriage,” the Army tweeted.

The visit by Lieutenant General Saini to the US took place ahead of the third edition of the two-plus-two dialogue which is expected to take place on October 26 and 27.

US Secretary of State Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper are scheduled to visit India for the dialogue.

The Indian side at the talks will be represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The first two-plus-two dialogue was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump.

The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December last year. The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries.

In the third edition of talks, both sides are also expected to delve into the situation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as in India’s neighbourhood besides key bilateral issues.

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