US Pacific Command changes name in symbolic gesture toward India

US Pacific Command changes name in symbolic gesture toward India
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The military renamed the U.S. Pacific Command on Wednesday to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in a largely symbolic move to signal India’s importance to the U.S. military.

“In recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command,” Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE said during a change of command ceremony on Wednesday.

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“Relationships with our Pacific and Indian Ocean allies and partners have proven critical to maintaining regional stability,” Mattis said.

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The change does not mean more personnel will be sent to the region, but instead recognizes the increasing military importance of India as the the U.S. works to assert regional dominance over China.

The Pacific Command has 375,000 civilian and military personnel monitoring the greater Pacific region, including India.

“We stand by our partners and support their sovereign decisions because all nations large and small are essential to the region if we are to sustain stability in ocean areas critical to peace,” Mattis said.

In 2016, the U.S. and India strengthened their military ties by signing an agreement to use each other’s bases for repairs and resupply.

The U.S. is India’s second-largest weapons supplier with nearly $15 billion worth of sales over the last decade. Russia is India’s largest weapons supplier, though its share of India’s arms imports has fallen, according to The Economic Times.

Mattis has tried to secure a waiver for India from sanctions signed by Trump last year against any nation that does business with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.

As of publication, the Command has yet change its name on Twitter or its website.