US to set ‘new milestone’ in defense ties with India: Carter

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said that his proposed visit to the India is expected to set “new milestone” in the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The US wants to develop closer and stronger military ties with New Delhi. Indicating that he may visit India anytime soon, Mr Carter said: “What we are looking for is a closer relationship and a stronger relationship as we can, because it is geo-politically grounded”.  Though no dates of his visit has been announced yet. Mr Carter is looking forward to his proposed visit to India and engagement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, the Pentagon has said while terming the trip as an “important moment”.

“The specific things we are doing with them is two-fold. One, is we have the rebalance so to speak, westward from the United States. They have Act East, which is their strategic approach eastward,” Mr Carter said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “Second, our defense technology and trade initiative, which is an effort to work with India and to do something they want to do. Which is, they want to improve their technical capabilities of their own defense industry and their own defence capabilities. But they don’t just want to be a buyer. They want to be a co-developer and co-producers. So, they want that kind of relationship,” Mr Carter added.

“That’s what we are working with them on. And that matches very much up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India Initiative. And so, we are very much aligned in terms of what the government there is try to do strategically and economically and what we want to do with them defense wise,” he said. Defence ties will continue to be the main focus of Indo-US relations and it also hold strategic importance for the Make in India initiative.

In the run up to Mr Carter’s visit to India, the India and the US are engaged in intense discussions on a range of issues. Many believe that joint patrolling could be one of them. The discussion between both the countries revolves around the need for India to sign ‘foundational’ agreements which will enable the India-US military relationship to grow to next level.

“And again, (it’s an) important moment for the Secretary and for his Indian counterpart to compare notes, if you will, their assessment of the security situation not just in the region, but in the world overall,” Pentagon Press Secretary

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