Like-minded Indo-Pacific nations are increasing multilateral defense operations and exercises using the latest military technology to enhance security in an increasingly dangerous world.
Adm. John Aquilino, Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command, made the observation at the 2022 Raisina Dialogue held April 25-27 in New Delhi. Aquilino joined military leaders from Australia, France, India and Japan to discuss global security and military technology at India’s leading foreign policy conference, first convened in 2016.
“Our common values and interests bring us together,” Aquilino said, praising the effectiveness of working with partners and allies to deter coercion and aggression across the spectrum of conflict. Such integrated deterrence entails using current capabilities, devising new ones and deploying them together in novel combinations. “All forms of technology apply in the military sphere. All nations are utilizing every aspect to try to gain an advantage,” he said at the conference, themed “Terra Nova: Impassioned, Impatient, and Imperiled,” which featured about 210 speakers from at least 90 nations and more than 100 sessions. The nonprofit Observer Research Foundation and India’s Ministry of External Affairs sponsored the dialogue. Aquilino said there must be a sense of urgency among peace-loving nations in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s “the most dangerous time in my lifetime, and I could argue the most dangerous time since World War II,” he said during the panel, titled: “Sabres of Silicon: (Re)Assessing a 21st-Century Global Risk Landscape.” (Pictured: Adm. John Aquilino, Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command, second from left, speaks during a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi in April 2022.)
Concern about the ongoing war is amplified by the People’s Republic of China’s “no limits” friendship with Russia, Aquilino said.
Panelist Gen. Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian Defence Force, called Russia’s portrayal of Ukraine as the aggressor “utter rubbish.”
“We’ve got to keep true to the maintenance of a moral authority,” Campbell said.
“But we have to be innovative and find ways to counter and to demonstrate strength because it is strength that is respected by authoritarian powers.”
Aquilino highlighted cooperation, communication and military exercises among peaceful nations as ways to prepare for potential actions by hostile regimes.
“We’re operating together. We’re becoming interoperable. We’re sharing information. We’re sharing technologies, all towards the delivery of a conflict-free and a Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” he said, citing Keen Edge, La Perouse, Malabar and Talisman Sabre as key multilateral exercises for ensuring combat readiness.
Panelist Adm. R. Hari Kumar, India’s chief of Naval Staff, said the world landscape lets nations come together to achieve positive outcomes. The coalescing of nations to confront and control the spread of COVID-19 and efforts addressing climate change are examples, Kumar said.
Similarly, close cooperation can help ensure maritime security and peace in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
IMAGE CREDIT: PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS ANTHONY J. RIVERA/U.S. NAVY