Mumbai: A 10-member US Navy delegation led by Rear Admiral Leonard C ‘Butch’ Dollaga, Commander Submarine Group 7, visited Headquarters, Western Naval Command (HQWNC), Mumbai on 9 February.
The delegation was accompanied by Mr. David J Ranz, Consul General, US Consulate, Mumbai. During the visit, Rear Admiral Dollaga called on Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command and discussed matters of relevance to the maritime domain with special emphasis on the growing cooperation between the two navies.
The visit of the US Navy (USN) delegation was part of follow-up activities linked to the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) discussions held in October 2020 wherein a consensus was reached to explore cooperation in the field of Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) with a formal agreement between the two sides.
The USN delegation presented various avenues to progress cooperation in the niche field of UDA and further strengthen Indo-US comprehensive global strategic partnership. On the Indian side, the discussion was led by Vice Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Chief of Staff, HQWNC wherein various facets of mutual cooperation in the field of UDA were deliberated.
India was accorded ‘Major Defence Partner Status’ by the USA during the Hon’ble PM’s visit to USA in June 2016 that institutionalised defence trade and technology sharing with India, at par with closest allies and partners of USA.
Major agreements signed between India and USA since 2014 include the Defence Framework Agreement (DFA), BECA, General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), Communication Compatibility and Security Arrangements (COMCASA) and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).