US Secretary of Navy Carlos Del Toro is on a five day official visit to India November 17-21, officials said on Friday.
Officials said that Del Toro is scheduled to visit Indian Navy's Southern Naval Command at Kochi, wherein he would interact with its chief and visit India's first indigenous Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard.
He will also meet Indian Navy chief, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, and high-ranking government officials in New Delhi.
India and the US have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations, and the defence relationship between the two countries has been one of mutual trust and confidence, which has transformed after the accord of major 'Defence Partner Status' to India.
In addition, both countries have concluded certain foundational agreements, including the Defence Framework Agreement, signed in 2015, which lays a blue print for collaboration between the defence establishments of both countries, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in 2016, which is a foundational agreement facilitating reciprocal logistics support between the armed forces of both countries, the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) signed on September 2018, which facilitates information-sharing between the armed forces of both nations and more recently, the Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which enables sharing of geo-spatial information between Ministry of Defence and National Geospatial Agency (NGA), US.
As per the Ministry of Defence, the Indian Navy closely cooperates with the US Navy on numerous issues, which include operational interactions such as the MALABAR, last edition held from November 9-15 off Yokosuka, Japan and RIMPAC 22 series of exercises, training exchanges, exchange of White Shipping Information and Subject Matter Experts in various fields, all of which are coordinated through the medium of Executive Steering Group (ESG) meetings conducted annually. In addition, warships from both navies regularly make port calls at each other's ports. Both navies have also been cooperating towards exploring new avenues for collaboration with a shared aim of a aFree, Open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.