Thank you for that kind introduction. Vice Admiral Hampiholi … Rear Admiral Raman … Consul General Ranz, Officers and Sailors of the Indian Navy … professors and students of the War College … … cadets of the Indian Naval Academy … Training officers in Kochi .. and those here in Mumbai… thank you inviting me to say a few words this afternoon … it is my great honor to be here.
This is the first time my wife, Linda, and I have traveled to India … and we have been captivated by your country, by your traditions, and by your culture. We have truly appreciated the warm reception at each stop ... and I cannot express my gratitude enough to your Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Singh for hosting us. No doubt, this is a week Linda and I will never forget.
While in Delhi I met with Adm. Sing, your Foreign Secretary, Harsh Shringla, your Chief of Defense Staff, General Rawat , and had the wonderful opportunity to interact with many senior Indian Navy leaders at South Block.In Vizag, I was delighted to meet with Vice Admiral A B Singh, of Eastern Naval Command, and observe Exercise Malabar at sea – where our ships belong - aboard USS Carl Vinson with several senior leaders of your Navy.
And here in Mumbai, Vice Admiral Kumar and I had a very productive discussion just a few moments… and more to follow.
I must say … everywhere I go I am encouraged. The Sailors of your Navy are skilled, energetic, and confident … and above all embody a deep commitment towards your profession, your country, and the citizens you serve.
A few days ago … the plane that brought me to India flew over oceans, seas, and nations central to human progress since antiquity. In the span of only a few hours … we soared above millions of homes and businesses … thousands of factories and farmlands … and countless vessels in the world trading fleet … carrying all the resources that we need to feed us, clothe us, fuel us, and sustain us.
We traveled high above the Indian Ocean … a place where our seagoing ancestors harnessed the monsoon winds … perfected the art of navigation … and united cultures from Africa … Asia ... Europe … Australia … and beyond.
Beneath us were no dividing lines … no national borders or walls separating people. There was only landscape … and the blue hue of the oceans upon which we sit.
So it struck me as I was coming here … how close and interconnected we all are today. Vast distances that once divided us are now strongly intertwined … and it is the “blue” that connects all of us together.
Indeed, our economies, our values, and our cultures are more attached to the sea than ever before.
Many of us in this room have seen it with our own eyes.
When you transit the Suez Canal into the Red Sea … you see new containerships … spanning nearly 400 meters and holding over 20,000 containers.
When you round the Arabian Peninsula through the Bab-Al Mandab Strait … beneath your keel are miles of undersea fiber optic cables … linking our planet’s digital infrastructure together. And more than 99% of all internet traffic travels on those cables.
When you sail into the Arabian Gulf … you have pass de-salinization plants that provide fresh water for hundreds of millions of people.
When you sail through the Strait of Malacca into the Western Pacific … you see ships engaged in the “new global gold rush” of deep-sea mining ... working to extract metals critical for advanced technologies.
And when you sail in the Southwest Indian Ocean, you see fleets of fishing vessels harvesting food for millions of people.
You see, providing a safe, secure, and stable maritime system is an imperative to all of mankind … and not just our two countries. It is an essential part of what our navies and coast guards do, day-in and day-out.
This is a responsibility with truly global consequences. It cannot be taken for granted ... peace on the sea does not happen by accident.
Though our nations’ may have different histories, different cultures, and different geographies … As Sailors, there is no doubt we are united by the sea.
We share the history, the knowledge, and the respect for what the oceans can do … as well as a mutual appreciation for what the sea can provide.
Cooperation between our navies ensures that our most vital resource … seawater … is shared sustainably and responsibly.
Cooperation … when applied with naval power … promotes freedom and peace … and prevents coercion, intimidation, and aggression.
And by growing our naval cooperation together … the two largest democracies in the world I might add … It sends a powerful message that illuminates the world we aspire to foster…
A world that adheres to international commitments and the rule of law … where diplomacy and dialogue … not military force … are used to settle whatever differences we might have.
A world dedicated to the freedom of the seas … where commerce and ideas can flow freely … across open oceans and seas and skies … connecting nations in bonds of fellowship.
The price of peace … the cost of prosperity … is maintaining a vigilant watch on, under, and above the sea …
Which is why we must keep a weather eye on the horizon and look ahead … because the breadth, reach, and lethality of naval warfare is changing at an explosive pace.
All over the world … disruptive technologies are removing barriers from the sea floor all the way to space. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomy, quantum computing, and new communications technology are transforming the maritime environment.
In turn, these advancements are reshaping everything from designing naval platforms … to constructing them … to manning them and training their teams … and finally, to operating them in support of our common objectives.
So the fundamental question for all of us … is how best to prepare for the future of naval warfare … while preventing conflict from breaking out in the first place? How do we do that?
I think the answers to that question is multifaceted … but today I’ll briefly touch on three ways … all of which are deeply rooted in partnership between our navies.
The first is Readiness. The fundamental application of our combined naval power … in peacetime and especially in times of competition … is to protect an increasingly globalized world. Prosperity comes from commerce … and commerce, my friends, floats on seawater.
Ready ships, submarines, and aircraft … operating forward … provide mobile, adaptable, and scalable naval power.
Readiness is a critical part of our ability to act … to reduce tension … and to enhance stability across the spectrum of competition.
Not every nation shares our vision of a free and open world. Some seek to undermine its legitimacy by corroding international laws and norms … stealing resources … and infringing upon the sovereignty of other nations.
Safe and secure seas cannot be preserved without a strong maritime force … That is what we must deliver every single day.
Our steady presence “greases the gears” of global commerce … assuring maritime traffic moves freely ... and prevents disruption of our digital infrastructure under the sea.
When we take in all lines from our ships … our Sailors send a “bow wave” of diplomacy in front of their path … assuring our allies, partners, friends, and people of the world … preserving the maritime commons for free, fair, and legal trade.
Readiness allows us to react to the unexpected … such as the Indian Navy’s important work supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. You set the example for all of us.
Together … our forward naval forces uphold global maritime security … set the standards for acceptable conduct at sea … and stand ready to protect the rules-based international order.
But none of us can do it alone … which brings me to the second way our team can achieve desired effects in the future … by building trust and by building interoperability.
In combined naval operations … the first element where we need trust … is information itself … because information is the thread running through all warfare areas.
Fusing information from a variety of sources … transmitting it securely, reliably, and efficiently … and putting it to use in a common and actionable operational picture … yields decision advantage.
And this advantage bolsters our shared maritime-domain awareness … on, above, and as we spoke, under the seas … providing naval forces the confidence to operate together in support of mutual objectives.
From this foundation … we strengthen trust and we build competency through multilateral exercises … like Malabar, Tiger Triumph … and RIMPAC.
Today, we are achieving high-end interoperability across all facets of naval operations … not only with each other … but with other like-minded partners.
With information and competency running deep in our partnership … we raise the sail for our most effective way of building trust … combined operations.
By sharing information … by exercising together … operating together … and learning together … by understanding what we are doing right, and what we are doing wrong… we are providing capability and generating capacity where it matters the most … on the sea.
Still … simply operating is not enough … eager competitors are using technology and new operating models to change the rules of the game… Point three.
Sea power in the information age requires effects to be distributed geographically … on, under, and above the seas … in the information environment, cyber domain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and in space.
To do this effectively … platforms, sensors, and weapons must all be able to operate in different spectrums and at different ranges, but still be able to work together as one cohesive, integrated team. This competitive method can only be empowered by secure, resilient, and common networks … links that function across domains … and across navies. This is a common challenge we need to get after.
In many ways it resembles an orchestra. Different instruments, different players, and different sheet music. Each musician plays their own part … but all of it works together in harmony.
In short … we need a ready, compatible, all-domain naval force to compete … and importantly, keep the peace.
Through continued engagement and integration … we will ensure security and prosperity for the Indian people … the American people … and people all across the world.
So let us sail together and fly together … side-by-side … and the guarantee free and open seas.
Let us stand together … shoulder-to-shoulder … and safeguard the International Order … so the collective goals of all people … regardless of where we call home … can be advanced.
Let us work together … hand-in-hand … and continue to make the Indo-Pacific a beacon of hope for today … and tomorrow.
Our relationship is unwavering … and the United States Navy is committed to maintaining a steady course of naval cooperation … and growing the connections between our two navies. I am committed to that. Without a doubt … our greatest strength lies in unity.
Cooperation will enable us to seize the promise and potential of this century … leaving a safer, more secure, and brighter world for our children … and their children … to prosper in.
Again, I would again like to express my appreciation to the people and the government of India for welcoming us in your nation this week … and I look forward to strengthening our partnership in the years ahead.
Thank you … and I’m happy to answer any questions.
Adm. Mike Gilday
15 October 2021
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