"India and the United States have built a strong strategic partnership. India is an important net provider of security in the region, and a partner on issues ranging from maritime security to humanitarian assistance to broader regional stability," Carter told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing.
The past decade has been transformative in the US-India relationship, he said, adding that as a result there has been greater convergence in US-India interests and concerns than ever before, particularly between their rebalance to Asia and India's 'Act East' policy.
"Strengthening the US-India defence relationship was a priority for me as Deputy Secretary of Defence and, if confirmed, I will continue to prioritise the steady growth of this relationship," Carter said in a written response to questions from the Committee.

He said defence plays a vital role in US-India relations, which includes a robust series of military exchanges and exercises, a strong track record on defence trade, and increasingly close consultations on regional security issues.

"The Department of Defence also remains committed to technological cooperation with India through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), under which the President announced four pathfinder projects, a working group on aircraft carrier cooperation, and the possibility of cooperating on jet engine technology," he said, referring to Obama's visit to India last month.
"As Deputy Secretary of Defence, I launched DTTI, now led by Under Secretary Frank Kendall. If confirmed, I will lean-forward to expand DTTI with additional co-production and co-development activities," he said.

Carter said if confirmed, he will continue to find ways to strengthen military-to-military relationship by expanding the scope and complexity of our exercises, and ensure the consistency of the engagement.

"I will prioritise exchanges at all levels of our military, and encourage frequent high-level visits. I will also build upon the progress achieved under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)," he said.

This includes pursuing additional opportunities for co-production and co-development projects, developing the defence trade relationship into increasingly sophisticated areas, and encouraging broader defence S&T engagement with India.

"I will continue to look for ways to expand upon our maritime security relationship and identify specific areas for increased cooperation, including in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

Latest News from World News Desk