Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar met Admiral John C Aquilino, Commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue on Wednesday. They discussed avenues to enhance the existing cooperation between the two navies.
Earlier in the day, both admirals were part of a panel at the Raisina Dialogue during which they were joined by General Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff of Japan Self-Defence Forces, General Angus Campbell, Australian Defence Force chief, and Air Marshal Luc De Rancourt, deputy director general for international affairs and strategy, Ministry for Armed Forces, France.
India, US, Japan and Australia are members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the Quad, and conduct the Malabar Naval exercise together.
Speaking at the panel, Admiral Kumar said, “We are in a contested present and moving on to quite an uncertain future. Why is this so? Primarily because of the conflict that we see as well as the challenges that are thrown in by the technologies which are emerging in various domains.” He was referring to the war in Ukraine.
Stressing on the importance of working together with other nations, Admiral Kumar said that in the Indian Ocean Region, “To enhance maritime security, we try to respond and be the first responder. It helps in developing trust, interoperability, information exchange, good practices, and domain awareness. All this translates into maritime security.”
Admiral Aquilino, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said this is the “most dangerous time in my lifetime, and the most dangerous time since World War 2”.
Asked about China comparing the Quad with NATO, Aquilino said, “There are a lot of things that PRC (People’s Republic of China) accuses people of that are not necessarily factual. Like-minded (countries) in the Indo-Pacific have been working together for 80 years.” All nations, he said, “have a sovereign choice of what they want to do with other nations. If nations want to come together to provide security and prosperity, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.”
General Yamazaki said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “violation of the international rules-based order. It violates sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is challenging the very foundation of the international order. It is the actual collapse of the international order.”