At a time when maritime domain is witnessing increasing contest from China and proxy war waged through pirates, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane on Wednesday said India and the US are key stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region, bound by shared values and common interests.

“Today, we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the history of the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific, with its vast expanse of oceans and strategic waterways, stands as the crossroad of global commerce, geopolitics and security. In navigating the complex dynamics of this region, India and the US find themselves as key stakeholders, bound by shared values and common interests,” the Ministry of Defence quoted Defence Secretary Aramane as having said at the two-day INDUS-X Summit that ended on Wednesday.

Participating in the Capstone session of the INDUS-X Summit, the Defence Secretary highlighted robust defence partnership between the two countries, which he stated was rooted in mutual respect and strategic convergence, the MoD said in a statement. Aramane mentioned that Initiatives on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), launched jointly by Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden in 2022, was key to the burgeoning relationship. “A pivotal aspect of our burgeoning relationship is the iCET that aims to establish ‘Innovation Bridges’ across key sectors, including defence, through expos, hackathons, and pitching sessions,” he stated.

Others who attended the Capstone session of the INDUS-X Summit were INDOPACOM Commander Admiral John C Aquilino, US Ambassador Atul Keshap, President of USIBC and the session was moderated by Rexon Ryu, President of The Asia Group.

Aramane talked about the Defence Innovation Bridge, a significant outcome of iCET serving as a catalyst for collaboration between US and Indian startups in the defence sector. In that regard, the Defence Secretary pointed out that the introduction of Joint IMPACT Challenges was a distinctive initiative aimed at collaboratively advancing defence and aerospace co-development and co-production initiatives.