New Delhi: A three day event, IPACC, IPAMS and SELF-2023, organised by the Indian Army with the US Army as the co-host culminated today in New Delhi. The event witnessed participation from 30 countries. 18 countries were represented by Chiefs of their respective Armies and 12 countries were represented by Heads of Delegations. The event provided an opportunity for the delegates to exchange ideas and views on security and other contemporary issues of mutual interest, with core efforts directed to promote ‘Peace and Stability’ in the Indo-Pacific region.
The event commenced with a call-on by General Randy George, the Chief of Staff (COS) of the US Army to General Manoj Pande, Chief of the army Staff (COAS) Indian Army on September 25, 2023. Both Chiefs discussed issues of mutual interest and shared views on contemporary issues.
On September 26, 2023, the Chiefs and the Heads of Delegations laid wreath at the National War Memorial paying homage to our fallen heroes. This was followed by a Joint Press Brief by the COAS Indian Army and COS of the US Army. The COAS Indian Army remarked that the region is not only a cauldron of cultures, histories, resources and opportunities but also a theatre of complexities and challenges. The COS of the US Army highlighted the role of land power and said that, it not only contributes to the shared security of the region but land power is also the decisive force in dealing with crises.
The Joint Press Brief was followed by the Opening Ceremony graced by the presence of Defence minister Rajnath Singh. General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Defence Staff was in attendance. During the ceremony, IPACC and IPAMS flags were trooped in followed by National Anthems of the USA and India. COAS Indian Army and COS of US Army welcomed all participants.
The defence minister delivered the Inaugural Address in which he emphasised about the complexities and untapped potential of the Indo-Pacific region and said that the region demands concerted efforts for a prosperous, secure and inclusive future. He also said that, “India stands for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific”. He reiterated, “Our efforts to build robust military partnerships with friendly countries underscore our commitment to safeguard national interests and address global challenges.” The Minister also released a Commemorative Journal.
As part of 13th IPACC, a Chief’s Round Table Conference was held on the theme “Together for Peace: Sustaining Peace and Stability in the Indo-Pacific Region”. Lieutenant General Raj Shukla (Retired) moderated the Round Table Conference. Lieutenant General Xavier T. Brunson, from the US Army, delivered a talk on “Enhancing Collaboration and Interoperability”. Major General Tan Cheng Kwee from Singapore talked about “Role of Military Diplomacy in Mitigating Crises”. Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (Retired) spoke on the topic, “Imperatives of Self Reliance for Modern Armies”. All Chiefs echoed the theme and reflected the sentiments of all the nations in the area. The Chiefs and Heads of Delegations had free and frank discussions on the need for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that follows rules based world order. They highlighted that Indo-Pacific has diversity at many levels and all agreed to work towards a collaborative effort to address the challenges faced in the region.
The COAS Indian Army also held bilateral meetings with Chiefs of the armies of the participating countries. He held one to one discussions with General Morishita Yasunori (Japan), Lieutenant General Simon Stuart (Australia), Lieutenant General Mguyen Doan Anh (Vietnam), Lieutenant General Peter Mbogo Njiru (Kenya), Prasiddha Prabal Janesewashree General Prabhu Ram Sharma (Nepal), General Sheikh Md Shafiuddin Ahmed (Bangladesh), Major General John Boswell (New Zealand), General Sir Patrick Sanders (UK), Lieutenant General Mao Sophan (Cambodia), General Jung Hwan Park, Republic of Korea, General Pierre Schill (France) and General Datuk Muhammad Hafizuddeain Bin Jantan (Malaysia). Lieutenant General MV Suchindra Kumar, Vice Chief of the Army Staff also held bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of Brazil, Singapore, Mongolia and Thailand.
Sessions of 47 th IPAMS were conducted in the Plenary Sessions on three themes. The first theme was “Partnering for Sustainable Peace and Security in the Indo-Pacific”. Second theme was “Cooperation to Enhance Interoperability” and final theme was “Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)- Evolving Mechanisms for Crises Response”. Senior officers from Mangolia, Nepal, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Tonga, USA and India spoke on the topics and shared their views with all participants. The discussions were moderated by Lieutenant General PS Rajeshwar (Retired), Lieutenant General Sunil Srivastava (Retired) and Lieutenant General Arun Kumar Sahni (Retired). It emerged during the discussions that the nations need to work together to strengthen the collective responses. This collaborative effort is not built overnight and therefore IPAMS provided the platform to build a connect, confidence and commitment for the future.
An all-encapsulating event culminated with the Closing Ceremony in Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on 27 th September 23. MoS for defence Ajay Bhatt delivered the closing address and thanked all participants. The conference came to an end with a Flag Handing Over Ceremony. The IPACC and IPAMS flags were handed over by the Indian Army to the US Army.