NEWS | Jan. 19, 2018

7th Fleet Hosts Annual U.S.-India Executive Steering Group

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mark Schultz U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR -- U.S. and Indian navy leadership met in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Jan. 17-19, to discuss engagements between the two nations throughout the year.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer co-chaired the executive steering group with Indian Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. G. Ashok Kumar to discuss the breadth of maritime cooperation between the two navies.

"The partnership between our navies continues to grow with staff exchanges like this and engagements throughout the year," said Sawyer. "Maritime cooperation in maintenance, logistics and exercises like Malabar further our ability to work together at sea."

The executive steering group discussed everything from exercises and subject matter expert exchanges to theater security cooperation and defense procurement.

"The two militaries work together regularly via attaches and military service components, and these steering groups help us refine those activities," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Jankola, U.S. assistant naval attache. "We want to get to a holistic vision of what this relationship should look like three to five years from now."

According to Jankola, these types of ongoing interactions also help develop enabling agreements between the U.S. and Indian navies.

This executive steering group also serves as the first touch point as planning for Exercise Malabar begins.