Washington: A top US commander has pushed for a strong strategic partnership with New Delhi, arguing that this is not only in America's national interest, but also good for regional and global peace and stability. (Agencies)
"A strengthened US-India partnership is imperative to achieve US national interests including ensuring regional security, strengthening the international trading system, protecting shared domains, countering terrorism and bolstering international non proliferation," Adm Samuel Locklear, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Noting that the US remains India's most frequent partner for security engagements, Locklear said that the bilateral defence relationship is built around a robust program of dialogues and engagements, military exercises and personnel exchanges. "Defence trade has grown subsequently to USD 9 billion dollars in less than a decade. India operate a fleet of six C-130J cargo aircrafts. It has taken delivery of first of eight P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and first of ten C-17 Strategic Airlifters," he said. "Our relationship with India has room to grow, and we are optimistic and enthusiastic about its potential. India's legacy of non-alignment and commitment to a policy of "strategic autonomy" is often viewed as limiting the relationship. "However, our shared values and commitment to democratic principles inevitably place us on parallel, if independent paths," Locklear said.
While Indo-US relations remain on an upward trajectory, Locklear recognized that there are impediments that must be overcome in the relationship. "Process issues in India's bureaucracy and its concerns about US-Pakistan relations are some of challenges in the strategic partnership. "Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton Baldwin Carter's India Defence Trade Initiative, however, has great potential to overcome much of the inertia and institutional red tape that has hampered our ability to expand cooperation," he said. "We're operating with the Indians and other people in the region because we're going after a common cause," he said. Locklear also acknowledged the concerns India has about the terrorism emanating from the west. "Of course, in India, there's always a concern about the transition of terrorists basically from the west into India," he said in response to a question.
Washington: A top US commander has pushed for a strong strategic partnership with New Delhi, arguing that this is not only in America's national interest, but also good for regional and global peace and stability.