Top US General Hails India as ‘Indispensable Partner’ for Stability in South Asia, Indian Ocean Region

A top US general said India was an “indispensable partner” for stability in South Asia and the greater Indian Ocean Region, as a joint exercise between the two countries came to an end on Thursday. The exercise was a simulation of providing joint relief services to a country hit by a super cyclone.

“India is an indispensable partner and leader in advancing stability and security throughout South Asia and the greater Indian Ocean Region,” said Major General Christopher McPhillips, director of strategic planning and policy at US Indo-Pacific Command.

‘Tiger Triumph’, a three-day joint humanitarian assistance exercise at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, was conducted in line with the growing strategic cooperation between India and United States. It marked the third time in 2022 that the militaries of the two countries have worked together.

“I am encouraged by the team’s work on increasing interoperability and exercising bilateral agreements to develop and validate a multinational command and control model for humanitarian assistance in this region,” Major General McPhillips said, while addressing military and diplomatic representatives from India and US.

Jennifer Larson, US consul-general in Hyderabad, said the exercise showed how both the countries were working together to strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific region. The US and India are also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which also has Japan and Australia as member countries.

“Tiger Triumph is a perfect illustration of how the United States and India are working together to strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific. With climate change threatening to increase the frequency of extreme weather events around the world, the United States recognises India’s unique role as a regional leader with the capacity to assist other countries in need. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration and deepening our ability to work side-by-side in the region,” Larson said.

A statement by the US side read that the ‘Tiger Triumph 2022’ was the second collaboration between the two countries to coordinate disaster relief in the region. The first exercise was also based out of Visakhapatnam and took place over the course of nine days in November 2019. The previous one featured over 500 US Marines and sailors and approximately 1,200 Indian sailors, soldiers, and airmen.

“This year’s exercise involves 50 combined participants, and is focused on staff planning, with an emphasis on processes for streamlining diplomatic, operational, and logistical coordination,” the American statement read.

In February, the US joined India and over 30 other countries for India’s bi-annual ‘Exercise Milan’. In August, the USS Frank Cable visited Visakhapatnam, during which US sailors joined Indian counterparts for briefings.

(With PTI inputs)

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