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Carter: U.S.-India Relationship Will Define 21st Century

April 13, 2016 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

The American-Indian relationship is one that will define the 21st century, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday in New Delhi.

Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar also announced an agreement in principle to share logistics assets for humanitarian operations. The two defense leaders spoke during a news conference following a meeting at the Indian Defense Ministry.

Defense Ash Carter exchanges gifts with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar following a welcome dinner in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India and the Philippines to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
Defense Ash Carter exchanges gifts with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar following a welcome dinner in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India and the Philippines to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
Defense Ash Carter exchanges gifts with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar following a welcome dinner in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India and the Philippines to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
SD visits Goa, India
Defense Ash Carter exchanges gifts with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar following a welcome dinner in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India and the Philippines to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
Photo By: Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
VIRIN: 160410-D-DT527-617
This is Carter’s second trip to India as defense secretary. Parrikar hosted Carter for a tour of the India’s Karwar Naval Base in Karnataka and toured the Indian Navy's aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

Relationship Grows

The military-to-military relationship between the countries has grown, Parrakar noted. India has more joint exercises with the United States than with any other country, the defense minister said. “In this context,” he added, “Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a logistics exchange memorandum of agreement in the coming months.”

It is in both nations’ interests for the relationship to continue, Carter said. “First, we have what I call a strategic handshake -- as the United States is reaching west in its rebalance, India is reaching east in Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi's Act East policy that will extend its reach further in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” the secretary said.

The United States and India are acting upon their joint strategic vision statement and the 2015 framework for the defense relationship. Those documents call for the peaceful resolution of disputes, and for countries to make their own security and economic choices, free from coercion and intimidation. It also calls for “freedom of navigation and overflight that have helped so many in this region to rise and to prosper for so many years,” Carter said.

Technology Initiative

The secretary also spoke about the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative. “We agreed to initiate two new DTTI Pathfinder co-development projects, one on digital helmet mounted displays and another one on a joint biological tactical detection system, adding to a growing list of initiatives,” Carter said. “Under DTTI, the Aircraft Carrier Working Group has been a success, and we’re deepening our consultation in aircraft carrier design and operations.”

The two nations also are finalizing four government-to-government projects valued at almost $44 million, an investment shared equally.

The logistics agreement will allow India and the United States to share and exchange logistics. Carter and Parrikar said they expect that agreement to be finalized and signed in the coming weeks.

“We also agreed soon to conclude a commercial shipping information agreement to help our navies work together to defend our countries and promote and protect global commerce,” Carter said.

The secretary met with Modi before leaving for the next stop in his overseas trip. He is now in the Philippines.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)