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Parrikar becomes first Indian defence minister to visit PACOM

Commander of US Pacific Command (PACOM), Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., right, and Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, render honours during a welcome ceremony at the PACOM Headquarters in Hawaii. A US Navy photo

WASHINGTON (PTI): Manohar Parrikar has visited the US Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, becoming the first-ever Indian Defence Minister to visit the key facility in a sign of deepening military ties between the two strategic partners.

The US Pacific Command in a statement described Parrikar's visit as a "milestone" event during which he held meetings with the PACOM Commander Admiral Harry B Harris.

Harris and Parrikar discussed the growth of the strategic partnership between the two nations and how routine, regular and predictable engagements strengthen that partnership, PACOM spokesman US Army Major Dave Eastburn said.

The two also emphasised the importance of expanded maritime security cooperation within the context of broader military-to-military ties, especially in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, he said.

Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year's Chief of Defence Conference.

He underscored that the conference is important venue to build the relationships that will underpin security and stability throughout the region.

Parrikar and Harris discussed the continuance of the maritime security cooperation, the potential for joint US-India maritime patrols, and the value of foundational agreements such as a logistics support agreement and a communications and information security memorandum of agreement, Eastburn said.

They also discussed Exercises Malabar, Yudh Abhyas, Red Flag, Vajra Prahar, and RIMPAC, reemphasising that the United States is still India's partner of choice for exercises and military-to-military engagements, he said.

Parrikar is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on December 10.

This is his first visit to the US as the Indian Defence Minister.


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