By Elton Gomes
In a move to cement its relationship with India, the United States military renamed its Pacific Command as the US Indo-Pacific Command on Wednesday. US officials were of the opinion that the move would highlight India’s importance to the Pentagon.
The US military has already begun using the new term instead of the old in official documents. James Mattis, US secretary of defence, made the announcement at the change of command ceremony where Admiral Philip Davidson took charge from Admiral Harry Harris Jr. in Hawaii.
However, even though the US military has opted for a change in name, no significant changes will be made in armies of both countries. According to an NPR report, the move “carries no fundamental shifts in troops, military missions or other Pentagon activities.”
Here’s what happened
In 2016, India and the US signed a logistics defence pact that allowed their militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment. After Donald Trump came to power, the Trump administration looked at India as an important military ally in the Pacific and the move to rename the Pacific Command could be significant to enhance joint military operations.
Secretary of defence, James Mattis emphasized on maintaining relationships with allies in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Mattis said, “Relationships with our Pacific and Indian Ocean allies and partners have proven critical to maintaining regional stability,” Reuters reported. “In recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The move certainly highlights strong Indo-US relations and could make things difficult for China. Mattis claimed that he allowed the change to show the US’s commitment to ensuring every country “is not bound by any nation’s predatory economics or threat of coercion.”
Additionally, Mattis called out Beijing for breaking a promise to not militarise islands,“If you notice, there’s only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff them or state their resentment of them. But they’re international waters and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation.”
Why this is important
Reuters reported that the US has also show interest in India’s defence market. Finalising deals worth $15 billion during the past ten years, the US is India’s second largest weapons supplier.The renaming certainly highlights India’s military relevance for the United States. The US Pacific Command is responsible for all activities of the US military in the greater Pacific region, and it has roughly 3,75,000 civilian and military personnel in its area of responsibility that includes India.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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