US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that Washington and New Delhi can jointly deploy warships and warplanes in the Indian and Pacific Oceans as the two nations are increasing military ties.
“We can deploy our ships together in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and even beyond, to ensure maritime security,” Garcetti said during a speech at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi.
Garcetti added that the US and India can also deploy “our air forces across the Indo-Pacific region” and called for greater interoperability between the two militaries.
Also on Wednesday, Daniel Kritenbrink, the top State Department official for East Asia, said he expects the US to increase cooperation with India in the South China Sea. Kritenbrink said there would be greater collaboration in the disputed waters with the four Quad nations, which include the US, India, Japan, and Australia.
The US has been boosting military ties with India as part of its strategy against China, including by conducting military exercises with the Quad. Garcetti said the purpose of the increased cooperation is to “stand together against those who would upend the common good for their own benefit.”
Garcetti’s speech came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington on his first official state visit to the country. During his visit, Modi and President Biden signed a slew of agreements, including a $3 billion deal for India to purchase 31 armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones.
The US wants to step up arms sales to India to reduce New Delhi’s reliance on Russian arms. Biden and Modi also signed an agreement for General Electric to co-produce fighter jet engines in India.
The US has been helping India with the surveillance of Chinese troops along the disputed border in the Himalayas, known as the Line of Actual Control. The cooperation is the result of a 2020 military pact signed between the two nations that allows the US to share satellite data with India.