New Delhi (Sputnik) – The maritime alliance between India and the US is mainly to contain China's aggressive designs in the Indo-Pacific region. India and US agreed to cooperate with each other on maritime issues during the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Monday.
"Noting the importance of the upcoming Malabar naval exercise, the leaders determined to expand their engagements on shared maritime objectives and to explore new exercises," the India-US Joint Statement read.
Modi's major takeaway from the US visit is the convergence of India-US interest in containing China in the Indo-Pacific region. This is the continuation of Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region agreed by both the countries in 2005, which says that, "As the leaders of the world's two largest democracies that bridge the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region… a closer partnership between the US and India is indispensable to promoting peace, prosperity and stability in those regions."
The US Predator Guardian drones to be sold to the Indian Navy per a deal confirmed after Modi's visit will be mainly used to monitor Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean.
The upcoming Malabar joint naval exercise can also be seen as a demonstration of the intention and ability to to check China's increasing influence in the Indian Ocean.
India will deploy the INS Vikramaditya for the first time in the Malabar exercise, and the US and Japan will also deploy their front line warships, submarines and aircraft.
"Although India wanted combat drones from the US for the Indian Ocean security and surveillance, the US agreed to sell surveillance drones only. Nevertheless, it will be very useful for the Indian Navy. As far as the Malabar exercise is concerned, definitely it will be a show of strength against Chinese maritime power. China's aggressive posturing in the Indian Ocean is a cause of concern for India," strategic expert Brahma Chellaney told Sputnik.