Washington: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vist to the US, the Pentagon has said it is “looking forward” to enhancing relations with India, and that there are opportunities to further expand military co-operation between the two countries.
“The (US Defence) Secretary (Ashton Carter) believes there are still opportunities for us to further expand the cooperation between the United States and India on military issues. They are issues of consequence for India, security issues that are of consequence to the United States,” Pentagon Press Secretary, Peter Cook told reporters at a press conference on Monday.
“We have shared security interests in that part of the world. And I think the Secretary is confident that the strong relationship we have right now will only build in the future, so,” Mr Cook said in response to a question.
The Defence Secretary, he said, is “looking forward” to the visit of Prime Minister Modi in June.
“He met with the Prime Minister when he was in India, and looks forward to enhancing and building on that visit and the strong relationship that he has been able to maintain with Minister Parrikar since he took over as Secretary,” Mr Cook said in response to a question.
Mr Carter was in India last month, during which he held talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and met the Prime Minister. Describing the trip as successful, Mr Carter said there were some in-principle agreements reached at that time with regard to military-to-military relationship.
“I think the Secretary feels very good about where things are with regard to that relationship, and his relationship with Minister Parrikar. I think he sees this as an opportunity for future cooperation between the United States and India on military issues,” Mr Cook said.
During his visit, Mr Carter became the first US Defence Secretary to board an Indian aircraft carrier.
“I think he was very appreciative of the warm welcome he received, and the substantive discussions that took place while we were in India,” Mr Cook said.