During his trip to India, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel praised the relationship between the United States and India, and urged even stronger ties.
“To pursue prosperity at home, both our nations must uphold a just, inclusive, and secure order. This requires continued cooperation that guards against regional instability. It requires countering terrorism and violent extremism. We also have a shared stake in the security of global energy and natural resource supplies, and the free flow of commerce,” Hagel said during remarks delivered at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
“We seek to protect freedom of navigation in the air and sea, and ensure the peaceful resolution of disputes. We have a shared interest in maritime security across the region, including at the global crossroads of the South China Sea. For all these reasons, India continues to “look east,” and the United States is pursuing its strategic rebalance. These complementary efforts headline our nations’ converging interests,” Hagel said.
“Regular and frequent engagement between our militaries helps forge a common and cooperative strategic culture. It helps instill trust and resilience in our broader partnership. And it ensures our forces are operationally prepared to deter conflict.”
Along with urging expanded ties in energy, trade, education, and innovation, Hagel said that India and the U.S. should deepen and expand their military ties.
“The United States strongly supports India’s growing global influence and military capabilities, including its potential as a security provider from the Indian Ocean to the greater Pacific,” Hagel said.
“Helping fulfill that potential is a deepening U.S.-India defense partnership, a partnership that must be cooperative, cutting-edge, consequential, and based on common interests … strengthening our military-to-military relations, re-energizing our defense industrial cooperation, and expanding our regional cooperation.