US Defense Secretary to visit India


car(53)US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is to visit India in May. On agenda is the further strengthening of bilateral defense ties. The Pentagon has said in a statement that Secretary Carter would visit India, building on President Obama’s visit earlier this year, by further strengthening Indo-USA defense cooperation which is to include the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (which Secretary Carter had started when he served as a Deputy Secretary of Defense) and by engaging India further on other Asia-Pacific issues, such as the maritime disputes in East and South China Seas.

Prior to his visit to India in May, Carter will be making a trip to Northeast Asia in early April, with stops in Japan and the Republic of Korea. He shall be focusing on strengthening and modernizing key defense relationship with Asian allies. In Japan, he is scheduled to meet the senior officials to discuss the defense strategic guidelines amongst other issues of mutual interest ahead of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to US at the end of April. In Seoul, he will meet the senior government officials to discuss security and various other regional issues.

US has been seeking a larger role in Asia, seeking more economic and strategic space, as shown by the ‘Pivot to Asia’ and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiatives. This is Secretary Cater’s second visit to South East Asia and it shall be aimed at building and strengthening United States growing partnership in Asia. During his visit he will also address the Shangri-La Dialogue, a track one inter-governmental security forum held annually in Singapore, which is attended by top rank military personnel and defense ministers of 28 Asia-Pacific states.

His visit to India is being seen as of significant importance as it will build on President Barack Obama’s visit earlier this year in enhancing security cooperation.