US-India Strategic Collaboration in the Indo-Pacific with Admiral Sunil Lanba (Ret’d.) April 7, 2020

On April 7, Admiral Sunil Lanba (Retd), the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy from 2016-2019, joined USISPF’s Director for Aerospace and Defense, Captain Vikram Mahajan (Retd), on a webinar to discuss strategic collaboration between the U.S. and India in the Indo-Pacific.

Highlighting the economic and security importance of the Indo-Pacific, Admiral Lanba stated that “the geopolitical importance of the Indo-Pacific is here to stay,” and that there is a strategic need to promote peace, security, and stability in the region. He also highlighted how the defense partnership between the U.S. and India has grown significantly deeper and stronger over the past two decades, pointing to the recent defense agreement signed during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India earlier this year and the fact that India engages in more military exercises with the U.S. than with any other country.

During the question and answer period, Admiral Lanba provided his insight on opportunities for the U.S. and India to deepen their strategic defense partnership in the Indo-Pacific, including joint operations and recent progress in addressing logistical challenges such as communication and coordination issues. He also highlighted technological innovation, such as drones and AI, as an area in which the U.S. and India could collaborate more closely. When asked about the next steps he recommends for this partnership, he emphasized the importance of having a common maritime domain awareness and sharing intelligence; he sees the U.S. and India moving forward in these areas as confidence continues to build. He also discussed India’s cooperative relationships with other countries in the region, which has included providing quality training to military personnel in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and East Africa.