US Appease India; Renames US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command

How is Washington prioritising India-US Relations to counter China? The Pacific Command of the United States has been renamed to the US Indo-Pacific Command. The Pentagon has renamed the US Military’s largest geographical segment to reflect evolving India-US Relations. 

“Relationships with our Pacific and Indian Ocean allies are crucial to maintaining regional stability,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis said. “In recognition of the expanding connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command.”

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US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the renaming at the change of command ceremony in Hawaii, where Admiral Philip Davidson took over the responsibilities from Admiral Harry Harris, stated to be the next American ambassador to South Korea.

The name change from US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command is deemed to be a symbolic gesture to involve and promote India-US Relations. Washington has been persuading and luring New Delhi for stronger India-US relations, especially defence relations, in order to make rapid inroads in the lucrative Indian defence markets.
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The US government under Donald Trump is aggressively persuading Indian to choose between Washington or Moscow as the primary defence partner. Russia, as of now remains India’s biggest and most trusted arms supplier.

As New Delhi looks to broaden its arms purchases, the US is rapidly expanding its arms sales to India, emerging as India’s second-biggest arms supplier. Washington provided about 15% of weapons to India, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

While Washington has sold $15 billion worth of weapons to India over the past decade, Delhi has also balanced its relations with traditional ally Russia by purchasing strategic weapons including from jet fighters, submarines and aircraft carrier.

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At present, India-US relations are under stern test as Washington is dissuading Delhi from going ahead with procurement of S-400 air defence systems from Russia. According to House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry – The purchase would “complicate interoperability” with US forces and “limit the degree with which the United States will feel comfortable in bringing additional technology” into India.

If India goes ahead to procure Russian S-400 Air Defence Systems, this could endanger India-US Defence Relations and the first casualty would be advanced Predator drones, Thornberry warned.

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