US for closer, stronger defense ties with India: Carter

US for closer, stronger defence ties with India CarterWASHINGTON: The US is keen to forge a “closer and stronger” military relationship with India, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said ahead of his visit to India during which “a whole bunch of things” will be announced to boost Indo-US strategic ties.

“What we are looking for is a closer relationship and a stronger relationship as we can, because it is geo-politically grounded,” Carter said yesterday, indicating that he will soon be heading towards India.

“The specific things we are doing with them are 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,” he said at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think-tank.

These are like two hands grasping one another and that is a good thing, he added.

“Second, our defense technology and trade initiative, which is an effort to work with India and to do something they want to do…. They (Indians) want to improve their technical capabilities of their own defense industry and their own defense 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,” Carter said.

“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.

“When I go over there, we got a whole bunch of things that we will be announcing at that time. And I want to announce beforehand, but better, new milestones in this relationship,” Carter said, without indicating when will the visit take place.

In response to a question, Carter acknowledged that he does spend “a lot of time” on Indo-US defense ties.

“We also have a lot of common interests geo-politically and geo-strategically. One of them is to keep a good thing going, in the whole Asia-Pacific, or Indo-Asia Pacific region,” he said, adding that the US is looking to do more with India.–PTI

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