Recent joint naval drills between the Indian Navy and US Navy warships were done in the Indian Ocean by the two navies and their respective governments.
Current activities by the Chinese military has threatened the security of the Indo-Pacific and surrounding territories contested. Both New Delhi and Washington are working together to coordinate their maritime forces in times of tension with the Chinese Communist Party, reported VOA News.
The naval exercises started on Monday located near the India borders of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These locations are a distance from the Indian mainland, but near one of the shipping routes near the Malacca straight that China is looking at, cited India Today.
According to the India Navy, the exercises are a passage exercise, which is when two warships will do a transit with another allied ship.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday remarked that joint exercises with the Indian Navy and USS Nimitz aircraft carrier was a display of committing to stronger alliances. By committing to co-mutual cooperation via naval forces, it will help keep the Indo-Pacific free from any controlling influence.
These India and US navy exercises were done last November and the first activity of such with India. There are plans for a summit in 2020 which will be held with top officials of both governments, added Esper.
Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, remarked in a statement that the exercises were for the interoperability and is a testimony that both navies can work together.
In the South China Sea, two of the carrier strike groups of the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan have joint carrier exercises in there. One of the goals was to show China that all ships had a right to access the SCS, and the communists cannot claim illegally any territory. Conducting freedom of navigation operations called FONOPs show defiance of China's claims.
Compared to 2015, there were more FONOPs in the South China Sea when these presence operations were established by the US Navy. As the territory grabbing practices got worse, with China's aggressive stance in the SCS, these operations remind Beijing that the US is around, mentioned Defense News.
China through its military claims other waters as theirs but have been rebuked by The Hague and international courts. Using reclaimed and stolen areas as theirs and regularly bullying neighbors, US warships have sailed the Paracels, Spratlys, and other islands that have been militarized unhindered.
Just like Beijing's tiff with India, New Delhi has kept mum about it until recently. The Indian Foreign Ministry proclaimed last week that the South China Sea is a global common, not the domain of China, adding that it is in the best interest of New Delhi to keep the peace in the Indo-Pacific.
China is saber-rattling at the border of India and claims to have killed 20 Indian soldiers.
Esper added that the US is keeping an eye on the situation, saying that both are dialing down the tensions in the disputed border. As China alienated its close neighbors, they will cause more cooperation with Washington.
The next joint naval drills may include Australia, with Indian Navy and US warships for the yearly Malabar exercise.