Washington: In order to encourage long term strategic partnership with India, the US wants India to serve as an "economic anchor" in the Asia Pacific region where it is already boosting economic development along with another giant China, a top US commander has said.
   
Commander of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, said President Barack Obama's new defence strategy, unveiled this week, underlines the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region.
   
He said from the high growth driven by Asian tiger economies to the emergence of giants India and China, the region has continued to be a centre of immense activity.
   
"At one point, it was, Asian tigers, and now we look at China and India and there are two Asian giants that are driving the economic developments in the region," Willard said delivering the keynote address at the Hawaii Military Partnership Conference.
   
He said the new Defence Strategic Review unveiled by President Obama stresses on building relationship with India, as the US increases its presence in the Asia-Pacific region where the US economic and security interests come across a mix of evolving "challenges and opportunities".
   
With changing global dynamics, the US out of necessity aims to "rebalance" towards the Asia-Pacific region, he said.
   
"The United States is also investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provide for the security in the broader Indian Ocean region," he said.
   
"Our relationships with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region. We will emphasise our existing alliances, which provide a vital foundation for Asia-Pacific security.

Willard said the US will expand its networks of cooperation with emerging partners throughout the Asia-Pacific to ensure collective capability and capacity for securing common interests.
   
"Furthermore, we will maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula by effectively working with allies in other regional states to deter and defend against provocation from North
Korea, which is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon programme," the PACOM Commander said.
   
The maintenance of peace, stability, the free flow of commerce and of US influence in this dynamic region will depend in part on an underlying balance of military capability and presence, he noted.
   
"Over the long term, China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the United States economy and our security in a variety of ways. Our two countries have a strong stake in peace and stability in East Asia and an interest in building a cooperative bilateral relationship," he said.
   
However, the growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region, Willard said, adding that the US will continue to make the necessary investments to ensure that it maintains regional access and the stability to operate freely, in keeping with its treaty obligations and with international law.
   
"Working closely with our network of allies and partners, we will continue to promote a rules-based international order that ensures underlying stability and encourages the peaceful rise of new powers, economic dynamism, and constructive defence cooperation," he said.

(Agencies)