Indian Navy Vice Adm. G. Ashok Kumar tours primary flight control aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Navy photo

Top Naval officers from the two most populous democracies in the world met in San Diego this week to discuss cooperation on undersea warfare.

Vice Adm. G. Ashok Kumar, the vice chief of staff for the Indian Navy, met with Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, during a visit to San Diego on June 28.

The meeting focused on U.S. and Indian Navy cooperation in the area of undersea domain awareness, and was part of a larger visit which included various stops throughout San Diego and the Pacific Northwest.

“The US-India strategic partnership is one of our most critical relationships in the Indo-Pacific,” said Koehler. “Open discussion of shared and complimentary capabilities not only strengthens our relationship, it increases our naval effectiveness as we work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The meeting comes amid growing tensions between the United States, India, Japan and Australia on one hand and the autocratic regimes of Russia and China on the other.

While in San Diego, Kumar visited the Undersea Warfighting Development Center, Submarine Squadron 11, the Undersea Rescue Command, the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

He also met with Indian Navy personnel training at Naval Base Coronado.

Vice Adm. G. Ashok Kumar (center) meets with Indian Navy personnel training on the MH-60R helicopter at Naval Base Coronado. Courtesy Indian Navy

In the Pacific Northwest, Kumar visited with elements of Submarine Development Squadron 5 and the commander of undersea surveillance.

The U.S. and Indian Navies have been reinforcing their partnership to maintain a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific as China fortifies tiny islands in the region and threatens Taiwan.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.