New Delhi, June 30: India has actively helped the US’ global war on terrorism and extended assistance during the war in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. The US Pacific Command, whose area of responsibility for the US military includes India (but not Pakistan), has placed on record India’s participation in its efforts.
The Pacific Command has also let it be known that it was the US’ active involvement with both India and Pakistan that had prevented a war from breaking out during the 10-month forward deployment of troops in 2001-2002. US official sources released the testimony made by the commander of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Thomas Fargo, before the House international relations subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific last week.
Fargo, who has served as the US Pacom commander for the past year and who was earlier commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said several countries have helped the US put in place an “active defence”.
India, along with Australia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have “contributed support ranging from overflight, access and basing to escort, logistics and troops on the ground” during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Some of these countries are actively participating in the reconstruction of Iraq.
“Our long-standing bilateral alliances in the Asia-Pacific region, our friendships and the presence of our forward-deployed combat forces continue to be the foundation of the region’s peace and stability,” Fargo said. “One of my goals is to build on these relationships while nurturing multinational efforts that support the region’s mutual interests. Our forward posture is fundamental and our combat capability essential to deter regional threats. We look for initiatives that help shape our overseas posture.”
The Pacific Command has placed its worries on Kashmir alongside those in the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Straits. “Although we anticipate peaceful resolution of longstanding security concerns in places like the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Strait and Kashmir, the strategic situation in these potential flashpoints and elsewhere mandates vigilance and preparedness. We are strengthening our current security relationships and military capabilities while developing new relationships and capabilities to deter conflict and dissuade would-be regional competitors,” he said.
The commander said the Pacific Command has begun an aggressive security cooperation programme with India. The policy direction for this was from the India-US Defence Policy Group.
“To date, our (Indian and US) forces have conducted a number of successful exercises — ranging from airborne operations to surface warfare naval exercises — that have improved the combat effectiveness of US forces. Over the past 10 months, US Pacom and its components have met with their Indian counterparts and established a long-range plan outlining mutually beneficial activities,” he said.
“These programmes will increase our inter-operability with, and access to, Indian forces. Our growing military cooperation supports the transformation of our relationship with India and serves to further this strategic partnership. This partnership was evident in India’s strong support for the global war on terrorism, most notably its naval escorts of US ships transiting the Strait of Malacca last summer,” he added.