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India, US decide to step up defence interoperability

The decision was announced in The Philippines, where defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman met her American counterpart James Mattis, for their second meeting in a month.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2017 22:32 IST
HT  Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
interoperability,India US defence ties,India US relations
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with US defence secretary Jim Mattis in New Delhi earlier this month. (PTI File)

India and the United States have decided to implement an agreement to improve interoperability between their defence forces, specially their navies, called Helicopter Operations from Ships other Than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC).

The decision was announced by the two sides in Clark, Pampanga, The Philippines, where defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman met her American counterpart James Mattis, during their second meeting in a month.

The two Leaders stressed the importance of strengthening maritime security cooperation, and in support of this objective, decided to implement HOSTAC, US defence department said in a statement.

HOSTAC allows multiple navies and coast guards to work with each other, using their platforms, through prior knowledge of their equipment, processes and guidance systems. This is a unique arrangement that the United States has promoted.

“Most of this information is publicly available” and India and the US used to exchange this two months prior to their joint exercises in the past, said an official on background. Now, it will be a rolling arrangement.

“Helicopter operations are critical to advanced maritime operations and they must be synchronised,” Lt Cmdr Bryan Weatherup, aviation operations officer, said while explaining the system at a HOSTAC conference of 11 countries in Singapore in 2016.

“From Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) missions, maritime domain awareness operations, anti-submarine warfare or moving personnel or supplies, aircrews must work closely with other operators and those from various partner forces,” he said, according to a US navy journal.

“The bottom line is that maritime-based aircraft need a place to land at sea,” said Weatherup. “To be successful in both bilateral and multilateral operating environments, we need to conduct effective helicopter operations with our friends and partners.”

Participants at the conference were Great Britain, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 21:26 IST