Washington: The US is looking forward to increasing its military relationship with India and the Defence Department receiving directions from the Obama administration in this regard last year itself, a top US Pacific Commander (PACOM) said.
In an interaction with foreign journalists yesterday, PACOM commander Samuel Locklear said the recent Joint Declaration on Defence Cooperation issued after the White House meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a significant development.
"I think it`s a very important joint statement. And I think that it outlined clearly the direction that we want to go together," Locklear said.
"We had been given in the Defence department some direction from the administration, I think, last year, on how we should start working our plans to develop a longer-term strategic relationship with our Indian partners."
"It`s good for the security of the region; it`s good for our own and Indian national interests," he said.
Noting that the two countries have had a growing military-to-military coordination for some time, he referred to the ongoing Malabar Exercise, which he said has been going on for well over a decade or so.
"It is an opportunity for us to get together as navies. It`s an opportunity to work. Generally, they`re held every other year or so in the Indian Ocean, so it`s an opportunity for our US military ships to understand the Indian Navy, to understand the Indian waters, to help work together on the types of contingency things that we might plan together to work on," he said.
"We do similar types of things across other branches of the service as well, and those are quite productive and growing," Locklear said.
"We`re also looking at ways that we can pursue together some - maybe some joint ventures or joint sharing of the ways we go forward on military - some of the military equipment that we might build together."
"So we`re looking forward to a growing relationship to build a military-to-military with the Indian military," the PACOM Commander said.