Washington: US Navy chief Admiral John Richardson will be in India for a three-day visit beginning Sunday to meet his Indian counterpart and other senior officials to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two navies, amidst China flexing its muscle in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
The visit from May 12 to 14 will be Richardson's second visit to India as the Chief of Naval Operations.
His visit comes amid Indian Navy participating with the navies of the US, the Philippines and Japan in their first joint naval exercise in the disputed South China Sea, where China is flexing its muscle.
The US Navy said in a statement that the visit "aims to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two navies by emphasising the importance of information sharing and exchange".
"I am looking forward to this trip," said Richardson.
"The strategic environment is becoming more complex and the nature of our shared challenges requires frequent discussion of our views of the maritime domain and how best our two navies can operate in line with our respective objectives," he said.
During his three-day visit, the US Navy chief will meet Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and other senior Navy, military, and national security officials of India, the statement added.
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
The US has conducted a series of "freedom of navigation" exercises in the disputed South China Sea, triggering protests from Beijing over what it says is infringement of sovereignty.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan are also claimants.