New Delhi: US Navy Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Mullen arrived here Tuesday on a visit that intends to further military ties between the two countries. His visit to the country's capital comes even as units of the Indian and US navies, along with their counterparts from Japan's Maritime Self Defence Force, have just concluded a trilateral exercise of the shores of Japan.
Adm Mullen is scheduled to call on the Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, along with other service chiefs, Indian Army's Gen. JJ Singh, and Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Major. He will also call on defence minister AK Antony and defence secretary, Shekhar Dutt, during his visit. Adm Mullen travels to Mumbai on Thursday where he will visit naval establishments in the city before departing Friday, an Indian Navy spokesman here said Tuesday.
Adm Mullen's is the latest in a series of high-powered visits by US civil and military officials.
Earlier this month, the global and regional security environment figured prominently during the first meeting of the India-US joint working group (JWG) on defence. The JWG was envisaged in the New Framework for India-US Defence Relationship signed by then Indian defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, in June 2005.
The JWG conducts a midyear review of the work and is overseen by the Defence Policy Group, which is the apex dialogue mechanism in the Indo-US defence relationship.
India last year completed purchase of landing ship USS Trenton that the Indian Navy is scheduled to induct in the next few months as the INS Jalashva.
Meanwhile, a flotilla of five frontline Indian Navy ships, which is currently on a two-month extended deployment to southeast and East Asian waters, concluded its annual Malabar series of exercises off Japan with ships of the US Pacific Command. For the first time the ships also engaged Japanese maritime force units as part of a trilateral exercise.
As part of the deployment that concludes May 23, the Indian Navy ships have already exercised with their counterparts from Singapore and China. They will now conduct a similar drill with the Russian, Filipino and Vietnamese navies.