NEW DELHI –
Less than a week after being confirmed and sworn in as the 41st Chief of Staff of the Army, General Randy George is out in the Indo-Pacific Theater telling allies and partners that the region is critically important to the United States.
"This region is a priority, and the Army is all over the world but exercises more in the Indo-Pacific because it is a priority," said George during his first trip since being named the Army's top officer. George is among 20 chiefs of armies joining 30 nations participating in the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC). The gathering is the largest conference for land forces in the region to promote peace and stability through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It provides multinational senior land commanders a forum to exchange views and ideas and to develop and strengthen their relationships.
"This symposium serves as a shining example of what can happen when nations come together with a common purpose," said Chief of the Indian Army Staff and co-host Gen. Manoj Pande, who, along with his U.S. counterpart, called for a free and stable Indo-Pacific.
The United States refers to India as a strategic defense partner and has ramped up engagements to further solidify their relationship. U.S. President Joe Biden has hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. Two weeks ago, Biden attended the G20 summit in Delhi, and while this conference was kicking off, so was an exercise in Alaska with the Indian Army and Soldiers of the 11th Airborne Division called Yudh Abhyas. All of these events, including IPACC, are about building partnerships in a diverse and challenging part of the world.
"What this conference proves and what we're offering is unity, commitment, and the strength of all of our partners and allies," said George.
George's senior commander in the region is Gen. Charles Flynn from U.S. Army Pacific. His job is to build a land power network, and he likes to say, "Land forces are the security architecture that binds the region together."
Flynn and George will continue their regional presence with the highly successful Operation Pathways. Operation Pathways is USARPAC's operational approach to campaigning that applies readiness of combat-credible forces to build joint readiness, strengthen interoperability with our Allies and Partners, and deny key terrain in the region.
Concurrently, the Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) is taking place. This conference is for officers on the operational level (Lt. Col to Maj. Gen.) but still advocates sharing of best practices and relationship building.
The region's top senior enlisted leaders are also participating in the 9th Senior Enlisted Leader Forum (SELF), providing an opportunity to meet for open dialogue, share lessons learned, and provide an understanding of each Army's capabilities and the contributions of its NCO Corps.
The two-day conference also showcases military hardware under the "Make India" campaign that has significantly bolstered India's modernization efforts.
Participation in IPAMS has grown from nine nations at the first conference held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1977 to 31 nations in Seoul, Korea, in 2017. Today, IPACC is held every two years. IPAMS is the longest-running land forces conference held every year.