In nod to India, US military renames Pacific Command

Adm. John C. Aquilino Pacific Fleet commander greets Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on arrival at U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu Hawaii

Adm. John C. Aquilino Pacific Fleet commander greets Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on arrival at U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu Hawaii

As well as the leadership change, the command was also renamed as the US Indo-Pacific Command, a move reflecting the growing importance of India in the region.

Mattis made the announcement at a ceremony marking a change of command at Pacific Command from PACOM Commander Adm. Harry Harris to new Indo-Pacom Commander Adm. Philip Davidson. The officials said the name change reflects the connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans that is a key factor in providing security in the Pacific region.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis was in Hawaii on Wednesday to attend the Change of Command ceremony for Admiral Phil Davidson.

America's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is strong and unwavering. Harris was earlier nominated by President Donald Trump as the next US Ambassador to South Korea.

In 2016, the United States and India signed an agreement governing the use of each other's land, air and naval bases for fix and resupply, a step toward building defense ties as they seek to counter the growing maritime assertiveness of China.

Davidson takes charge of the Pacific Command after a successful tour as Commander of US Fleet Forces Command and Naval Forces US Northern Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

The purchase would "complicate interoperability" with USA forces and "limit. the degree with which the United States will feel comfortable in bringing additional technology" into India, House Armed Services Committee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told Indian media on Wednesday.

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He was speaking during a change of command ceremony.

Mattis made the announcement at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on Wednesday during a change-of-command ceremony for the USA military's oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command. "It's a region open to investment and free, fair and reciprocal trade not bound by any nation's predatory economics or threat of coercion - for the Indo-Pacific has many belts and many roads". The term "Indo-Pacific" resonates and demonstrates the ranging regional and global dynamic as well as the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean, Logan said.

"While we are prepared to face any who would seek to challenge America's resolve, our National Defence Strategy is not a strategy of confrontation", he said. He has been nominated by the Trump administration to be the next USA ambassador to South Korea.

Mattis said the United States will always be seeking peace from a position of strength.

Based on its growing economic and military might, China has been suspected of seeking to expand its sphere of influence through man-made islands in the strategically vital waterway of the South China Sea - or farther into the Pacific.

Mr Mattis has been pushing for a waiver for countries like India, after Mr Trump signed a law past year which said any country trading with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors would face sanctions.

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