U.S. To Transform India Into Naval Logistics Hub, To Expand Operations In Indo-Pacific And Counter China

The United States plans to establish Naval Logistics Hubs in India that would function as centres for resupplying and maintaining naval ships in the South Asian region.

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The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden chartered such comprehensive defence and economic relationships when the former visited the White House in June to attend a summit with Biden.

“The U.S.-India Major Defense Partnership has emerged as a pillar of global peace and security,” the joint statement from the summit read.

Per reports, the United States will offer support for developing infrastructure that will be employed to resupply, repair and maintain vessels and aircraft.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said that much more would unfold in future, but the main aim, for now, is to make India a logistics hub for the U.S. and its partners in the Indo-Pacific. As part of this effort, the U.S. Navy will sign ship repair contracts and agreements with prominent Indian Shipyards.

Recently, the Navy signed one such agreement with Larsen & Toubro shipyard close to Chennai. It will soon finalise deals with two more shipbuilders in Mumbai and Goa.

The idea is that if the U.S. Navy secures more ship repair and maintenance hubs in the region, it can devote time to conducting more joint naval exercises with other nations.

The U.S. has many such bases in Europe and the Middle East, but not the same can be said about Indo-Pacific, stated Jeffrey Payne, assistant professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. “So, India fulfils this.”

Presently, Japan and Singapore are the vital naval hubs for the U.S. in Asia.

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Harry Harris, former commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said that they operate from Diego Garcia and Western Australia in the Indian Ocean.

Per the 2021 edition of the Pentagon’s annual report on China, the Chinese Navy has around 355 ships and submarines, making it the largest. If the U.S. does not expand its operations and naval reach, it could fall behind China in terms of maritime capabilities, thus weakening its deterrence.

Securing its position in the Indo-Pacific is essential for the U.S. since the region has more water than land. Hence conducting supply operations during emergencies could prove difficult than similar activities in Europe, dominated by more land routes.

The recent developments show that India is gaining a vital role and a strong voice on the international stage. On its security front, India seems to focus on strengthening its relations with the West. However, its main theme of diplomacy is ‘strategic autonomy’, which means working with other nations according to its interests.

References: nikkei, timesnownews

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