US Consul General, Chennai, Jennifer McIntyre, has termed maritime security operation as a key component of defence and strategic cooperation between India and the United States.

“Our defence relationship today encompasses military-to-military dialogues, exercises, defence sales, professional military education exchanges and practical cooperation,” she said while delivering the keynote address at the maritime trade and security conference, ‘Sea Change: Evolving Maritime Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific Region’, here on Thursday.

Ms. McIntyre said the stretch of sea from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific was one of the most vibrant trade and energy routes, linking world economies and driving development and prosperity. However, India’s increasing economic bonds with its neighbours in Southeast Asia notwithstanding, the region remained the least economically connected. “Improved linkages and infrastructure investments between the economies of South Asia and Southeast Asia will be a critical component to integrating regional markets; accelerating economic development; and strengthening regional stability,” she said.

Maritime connectivity, she reckoned, was essential for India’s peace and prosperity as it was for the US. “We both gain from greater commercial interactions with and between the countries in the Asia-Pacific region.”

To this end, the US was working within Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as part of its ongoing rebalance towards Asia, to promote energy cooperation, private sector investments, educational exchange, and to reduce barriers to trade and investment, to improve connectivity and to support sustainable growth.

More In: Kochi | Kerala | National