New Delhi: Expressing confidence that the India-US relationship will be one of the key global partnerships of this century, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said India looks forward to even closer bilateral cooperation with Washington on counter-terrorism.
Parrikar, in his speech delivered at the joint press conference with US Secretary of Defence Dr. Ashton Carter, said the discussions, spread over the past three days, have been marked by characteristic warmth, candour and a sense of mutual purpose.
“I am confident that the India-US relationship will be one of the key global partnerships of this Century. Defence cooperation is a central pillar of India’s multi-faceted relationship with the US. A stronger India-US partnership will promote peace, stability and progress in our region and the world,” he added.
Parrikar said both sides have agreed to set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue between officials from our respective Defence and External Affairs Ministries with a view to taking our cooperation forward.
“We have also decided to enhance our on-going Navy-to-Navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues. Both countries will also deepen cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness by finalizing a ‘White Shipping’ Agreement,” he added.
The Defence Minister said the growing interaction between the armed forces of both nations is another significant aspect of the bilateral partnership.
“Today, India has more joint exercises with the United States than with any other country in the world. After a few years, we are taking part in multilateral exercises such as the Red Flag Air Force exercise and the RIMPAC Naval Exercise,” said Parrikar.
“As our engagement deepens, we need to develop practical mechanisms to facilitate such exchanges. In this context, Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months,” he added.
Parrikar further said both sides also discussed the regional security environment.
“I underlined India’s continuing concern at terrorism in the region directed against us. Secretary Carter emphasised that eliminating terrorism, and the ideology and infrastructure that supports it, is a common objective the United States shares with India,” he added.
Stating that Carter is the architect of the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), Parrikar said this has provided an unprecedented platform for both nations to strengthen bilateral cooperation in cutting-edge technologies and to address procedural delays in decision-making.
“We have decided to take forward discussions under DTTI more aggressively on key areas such as Jet Engine technology. We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation in the framework of the Joint Working Group on aircraft carriers. We also agreed to expand DTTI by introducing new and more ambitious projects for mutual collaboration. Both of us noted the strong complementarities between DTTI and the Make in India initiative,” said Parrikar.
“I hope to work together with Secretary Carter over the coming weeks and months to facilitate synergies between Indian and US companies in high technology areas, and in particular to promote participation of Indian companies in global supply chains,” he added.
Express his delight to receive the US Defence Scretary in India, Parrikar appreciate the former’s personal commitment and guidance in deepening the strategic partnership between India and the United States.
“It is indeed a great pleasure for me to receive Dr Carter in India. This is his second visit in less than a year, reflecting his continued interest in expanding bilateral defence relations between our two countries. We in India regard Dr Carter as a great friend and advocate of a stronger India-US partnership,” said Parrikar.
“I was deeply honoured by Secretary Carter’s acceptance of my invitation to visit Goa as well as the Indian naval base in Karwar and INS Vikramaditya, which showcase the finest capabilities of the Indian Navy. We also visited the USS Blue Ridge, which is currently on a goodwill visit to India,” he added.
The Defence Minister said these visits underline the growing importance of the maritime dimension of our relationship, as manifested in the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region.
“It was entirely appropriate that we visited India’s western shores. Even as we work with the United States to realize the full potential of India’s Act East policy, we also seek a closer partnership with the United States to promote our shared interests in India’s West, especially in the context of the emerging situation in West Asia,” he added.
Parrikar further said India and the United States are both strongly committed to a rule-based international order.
“We will continue to work together to maintain peace and stability and to maintain an enabling framework for progress and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. It is the convergence of our core democratic values and deeply shared interests that drives our relationship forward. Secretary Carter’s visit has elevated our strategic partnership to a higher level,” said Parrikar.
“I look forward to working together with him in the days ahead to implement the decisions that we have reached during this visit,” he added.