World’s three largest armies – China, India and the US are at loggerheads. China continues to pressurize India at the LAC, while the US keeps pricking Beijing in the South China Sea.
With China being the common adversary, India and the US are conducting joint naval drills, thus sending a loud and clear message to Beijing – a possible military alliance between Washington and New Delhi against China.
Warships of the Indian Navy were joined by the USS Nimitz, the largest American warship, to conduct The PASSEX (passing exercise) between the two navies. The PASSEX has helped build “interoperability” through a series of “Malabar” and other drills, reported the Times of India.
Several Indian warships, including destroyers, frigates and submarines as well as maritime patrol aircraft, are taking part in the exercise led by eastern naval fleet commander Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan.
It includes warships and aircraft from both the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) headquartered at Visakhapatnam.
The USS Nimitz was earlier deployed in the South China Sea along was USS Ronald Regan and conducted freedom of movement exercise in a major show of support for US allies and partners in the region against an aggressive and expansionist China.
According to experts at EurAsian Times, the USS Nimitz arriving in Andaman and Nicobar, near the Malacca Strait, send a strong strategic signal to Beijing that Washington is willing to back New Delhi as India-China feud in Ladakh continues.
The Indian military base in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANC) is strategically located at the mouth of Malacca Strait, a vital trade route for China, which India plans to choke should China get more hostile in the Indian Ocean Region.
In preparation for the same, New Delhi is fastening plans to increase troop deployment and ramp-up military infrastructure on the islands. The ANC is the country’s only theatre command with all assets and manpower of Army, Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard placed under one operational commander.
The arrival of USS Nimitz is not the first time a foreign country has conducted a joint drill with Indian. Last month, Indian and Japanese warships carried out a small exercise near the Malacca Strait. Tokyo has become a regular participant in the high-voltage Malabar military exercise along with New Delhi and Washington.
India was currently considering inviting Australia to take part in the Malabar exercise. The decision to include Australia in the drills will be the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will be engaged at a military level.