As part of the Indo-pacific strategy, the Department of Defense spent $396 million to build the maritime capacity of allies and partners in the region, said David F. Helvey, the acting assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific on June 18.
Helvey defined this as part of the Department of Defenses priority to ensure free and open Indo-pacific by building partnerships—a key priority of the strategy and said it has built the maritime capacity of allies including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and more recently Bangladesh.
“In terms of our second priority, partnerships, you know, the United States Indo-Pacific allies and partners continue to be the bedrock of our strategy,” said Halvey.
He said the National Defense Strategy “rightly” defines the Indo-Pacific region as a “priority theatre” for the Pentagon.
“The Indo-Pacific region for us remains a very dynamic and diverse region thats rich both with opportunity and challenges, and the challenges that have grown, have both a greater regional and global impact,” said Halvey.
Maritime Security Initiative
The Pentagon started implementing the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) to build capacities of the South East Asian states near the South China Sea in 2016, a year after it was announced.
“Where to date weve provided more than $396 million in assistance thats designed to strengthen the maritime capacity and maritime domain awareness capabilities of our allies and our partners,” said Helvey while updating reporters on Thursday.
The goal of the MSI is to build capacities of the allies on addressing various maritime challenges including Chinas growing influence in the South China sea.
“The department remains focused on adapting to the challenges of long-term competition and the return of strategic rivalry, including with China,” said Helvey.
Under MSI, Washington is working with the South East Asian nations to improve their ability to detect, understand, respond to, and share information about air and maritime activity in the South China Sea.
MSI was expanded to include Bangladesh, Srilanka, and Burma (also known as Myanmar) in 2017Read More – Source