Washington: The "once-nascent" defence ties between India and US has evolved into a "strong and growing" strategic partnership between two of the pre-eminent security powers in Asia, a top Pentagon official said.
"Today, US-India defence ties are strong and growing, including a robust slate of dialogues, military exercises, defence trade, personnel exchanges, and armaments cooperation.
The strong ties between our two militaries reflect this," James Miller told lawmakers in written answers submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation hearing for the post of Undersecretary of Defence for Policy.
"Over the past decade, there has been a rapid transformation in the US-India defence relationship. What was once a nascent relationship between unfamiliar nations has evolved into a strategic partnership between two of the pre-eminent security powers in Asia," he said.
In February, Miller had travelled to India to co-chair the annual US-India Defence Policy Group meeting.
"My trip reaffirmed my view that a close, continuing, and expanding security relationship between the United States and India will be important for security and stability in Asia and for effectively managing Indian Ocean security in the 21st century," he said.
Miller also said India has a long history of non-alignment and is firmly committed to its policy of strategic autonomy.
"The continued growth of our partnership should be focused on working closely on common interests in a true partnership."
If confirmed, Miller said, his priorities for this relationship should be to focus on increasing maritime security cooperation, expanding the military-to-military relationship, and deepening cooperation on defence trade, including cooperative research and development.
"There is potential for increased cooperation on counter-proliferation, collaboration on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, countering piracy, cooperation on counter-terrorism, greater intelligence sharing on common threats, and working towards stability in Afghanistan and the broader Indian Ocean region," he said.