‘India, US destined to be partners on world stage’, says US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

WASHINGTON (TIP): India and the US are destined to be partners on the world stage because of shared values and outlooks, a top US official told Indian officials ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US. US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter conveyed this message to India during his just concluded visit to India in preparation of Manmohan Singh’s Sep 27 meeting here with President Barack Obama, according to Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. Carter, who met with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur also discussed “steps toward deepening the multifaceted US-Indian defense relationship,” he stated.

“They discussed steps the United States and India are taking to streamline their respective administrative processes and make bilateral defense trade more responsive and effective,” Little said. Carter also hosted a meeting of senior representatives from the US and Indian defense industries that focused on additional steps the United States can take to remove barriers to bilateral defence trade, he added. Carter himself told US traveling media on way back home that a central topic of discussion with India was the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, which is intended to increase defence industrial and technology cooperation. The agreement isn’t just about selling defence equipment to India; it’s about fostering joint ventures he said. “They don’t want to just buy our stuff,” a story on Pentagon website quoted him as saying. “They want to build our stuff with us and they want to develop new things with us, and they want to do research with us.”

The joint C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft venture between the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata and Lockheed Martin is a perfect model of co-production, he said. “India is now part of the supply chain [for the aircraft], and has the economic benefit-the jobs benefit-of being part of that,” Carter said. Future defence projects between the two countries will include both codevelopment and co-production, the official said. “We want India to have all the capabilities it needs to meet its security needs, and we want to be a key partner in that effort,” Carter was quoted as saying. When you look at pictures of the Indian air force’s C-130s participating in the recent flood relief efforts in the north, that tells us we’re on the right track,” he added. Carter, who also visited Afghanistan and Pakistan before India said the principal threat to Pakistan is terrorism, not its neighbors. “The government of Pakistan has flirted over time with using terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” Carter was quoted as saying. “It is coming to the realization that terrorism is a boomerang, and it comes back on you when you try to use it for your own purposes.” “Their neighbor to the east is running away from them economically,” Carter said referring to India. To develop its economy, Pakistan first needs peaceful relations with India to begin trading with them, he said.

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