New Delhi: Amid new low in bilateral relations with Canada, India will host military chiefs and top commanders of the Indo-Pacific region next week. The event, co-hosted by India and US, Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC) is also a window for showcasing indigenous weapons and other military equipment to about 35 participating countries.
“A total of 30 Indian vendors (manufacturers) are taking part in the specially organised ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Equipment Display’ during the IPACC conference at Manekshaw Centre,” said Major General Abhinay Rai, Additional DG (Strategic Planning) of the Indian Army during the curtain raiser presser of the event in Capital on Wednesday. From small arms to indigenous artillery gun ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System) everything will be showcased, said a senior officer associated with the event.
Army Chiefs of as many as 20 countries and military delegations of about 35 countries are participating in the IPACC, said Lt Gen M V Suchindra Kumar, Vice Chief of the Indian Army during the curtain raiser press conference. The central theme for this forum is ‘Together for Peace: Sustaining Peace and Stability in the Indo-Pacific Region”. The conference will provide an opportunity for Army Chiefs and senior-level leaders from land forces, primarily of the Indo-Pacific region, to exchange ideas and views on security and contemporary issues.
“The core effort of the forum will be to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region through mutual understanding, dialogue and friendship amongst the littoral partners,” added Lt Gen Kumar.
The on-going ‘Taiwan Strait issue’ will not be discussed during the event, cleared Maj Gen Rai in reply to a question. He was also quick to add that the diplomatic row between India and Canada “won’t impact the forum”. The Deputy Chief of the Canadian Army, Maj Gen Peter Scott will participate in IPACC along with a military delegation.
“Had this (India Canada dispute over expulsion of diplomats) would have any effect on military cooperation, I would not have been present here at the curtain raiser press conference,” said Col Tod Braithwaite, Canadian Defence Attache in Delhi on the sidelines of the presser on Wednesday to select journalists (including the author).
IPACC was formed by the US in 1999 but India started participating from 2011. This is the 13th edition of IPACC which will be held in New Delhi (25-27th September). Besides, IPACC, Indo Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF) will also be held in Delhi during the same period.
The Army Chiefs conference will discuss issues of mutual interest and areas of cooperation to synergise efforts of all stakeholders for effecting peace and stability in the region. The IPAMS is a military seminar for Army Officers between the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel to Major General to exchange views on regional security issues and best practices. The SELF will involve the participation of tactical level sub unit commanders to hold open dialogue, share lessons learned and provide understanding about Armies participating in the forum.
The attendees will hear from distinguished guest speakers and participate in lively discussions on topics, such as peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief, leadership development and empowering women. The delegates will also visit the National War Memorial and pay homage to our fallen heroes.
“With a population encompassing 64 percent of the world’s inhabitants, a GDP contribution of 63 percent, and a significant share of the world’s merchandise trade at 46 percent, the Indo-Pacific undeniably holds a pivotal role in the world economy,” said Lt Gen Kumar.
“This region also commands authority over 50 percent of global maritime trade, emphasizing its central position in international commerce,” he further added.
“India’s geography bestows it a geostrategic location along vital Sea Lanes of Communication. This positioning, coupled with the fact that 90 percent of our trade and energy resources traverse these global commons, makes India an inalienable part of the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt Gen Kumar.