Days ahead of the planned 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defense ministers of India and the US, the Indian Army’s vice-chief is set to visit the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command to boost military cooperation between the two sides. Lt Gen SK Saini, the vice-chief of the army staff, will visit the US during October 17-20, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity. The 2+2 dialogue is expected to be held in New Delhi during October 26-27, with secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defense secretary Mark Esper set to visit India for the talks.
“The vice-chief of the Indian Army will visit the US Army Pacific Command (USARPRAC), the army component of the Indo-Pacific Command, and extensively exchange ideas with the American military leadership,” said one of the people cited above.
“The vice-chief will also witness the training and equipment capabilities of the US Army. The aim of the visit is to enhance military cooperation between the two armies,” the person said. Cooperation for ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific that is in line with a rules-based order is expected to be a focus area for both the vice-chief’s visit and the 2+2 ministerial dialogue, the people said. The Indo-Pacific Command is the US military’s largest unified commands which cover an area of over 260 million sq km. Its name was changed from the Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command in 2018 to reflect the greater emphasis on South Asia, and especially India, in protecting American strategic interests.