WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 —
Because of their strong ties and many commonalities between their interests and their people, the United States and India are "destined to be strategic partners in this century," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in Goa, India, yesterday.
Carter spoke to reporters at the start of a two-week trip that also takes him to the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The visit to India is another step in the "important security relationship between the United States and India," he said, adding that ties with India are important to the United States.
Carter, who is meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, said his discussions will include technology projects and other areas that "reflect the closeness of the U.S.-India strategic relationship."
U.S. Respects India’s Independent Strategic Interests
To underscore just how important the relationship is, Carter said, Parrikar is "one of the most important defense ministers in the world for me to interact with under any conditions."
The United States, he said, respects India's own independent strategic interests.
"We know that India works with other countries as well, but we very much appreciate the collaboration with the United States," he said. "It's one of the strongest we have."
Discussions are expected to include aircraft carrier, jet fighter, and jet engine collaboration, as well as "exciting new projects," Carter said last week.
The visit to India and the Philippines is part of the focus on the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, while the secretary’s stops in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will include talks on fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter @FerdinandoDoD)