Want to cut red-tape in defence ties with India: US
New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) With US rebalancing its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, a key Obama administration official Monday said his nation's ties with India will play a major part in its future strategy, and accordingly, the US wants to "knock down" any bureaucratic barriers in defence relations and "strip away" impediments.
"We want to knock down any remaining bureaucratic barriers in our defence relationship, and strip away the impediments. And we want to set big goals to achieve," US Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said at a CII-hosted event here.
"Our partnership with India is a key part of our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, and, we believe, to the broader security and prosperity of the 21st century," he said at the interactive session on "US-India Defence Cooperation: The Way Forward".
"Our rebalance is not about China or the US, or India or any other single country or group of countries. It is about a peaceful Asia-Pacific region, where sovereign states can enjoy the benefits of security and continue to prosper," Carter said.
Carter, who was only recently appointed by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as the pointperson for US-India defence trade, said India is "an economic power with an increasing military capability" and that its leadership in civil discourse and democracy is critical to the political stability of South Asia.
Noting that India-US military-to-military engagement has increased steadily over the years, to include a robust set of dialogues, exercises, defence trade, and research cooperation, the US official said the shared challenge in the next era would be to find concrete areas to step up defence cooperation, "so that only imagination and strategic logic, and not administrative barriers, set the pace".
To a query on India not appointing its counterpart to him, Carter said he was not concerned about the mechanism, but only about results.
In this regard, he said India deserved the best military equipment available, as a country committed to enduring peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
"And we are prepared to help. Practically, we want to be India's highest-quality and most trusted long-term supplier of technology, in such fields as maritime domain awareness, counter-terrorism, and many others," he said.
"We are committed to India's military modernisation. India is a top priority in our export considerations. We trust India and know India is not a re-exporter or exploiter of our technologies," Carter added.
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