Singapore: The Indo-US partnership, which is
based on shared democratic values and vital economic and
security interests, will be an indispensable pillar of
stability in South Asia and beyond, American Defence Secretary
Robert Gates has said.
"The United States and India are working more closely
together than ever before. During the Cold War there was an
uneasy co-existence between the world`s largest democracy and
the world`s oldest," Gates said in his speech to the
Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Now, there is a partnership based on shared democratic
values and vital economic and security interests, he noted.
"A partnership that will be an indispensable pillar of
stability in South Asia and beyond whether countering piracy,
increasing participation in multilateral venues, or aiding the
development of Afghanistan, our partnership is playing a vital
role," Gates said in his speech in which he emphasised on the
need to have engagement with top Asian countries.
He said the US is a Pacific nation, and that requires it
to sustain its allies while maintaining a robust military
engagement and deterrent posture across the Pacific Rim.
"Indeed, one of the most striking and surprising
changes I`ve observed during my travels to Asia is the
widespread desire across the region for stronger
military-to-military relationships with the United States
much more so than during my last time in government 20 years
ago," he said.
The US engagement in Asia has been guided by a set of
enduring principles that have fostered the economic growth and
stability of the region, Gates said.
These principles, supported by both US major political
parties, include free and open commerce; a just international
order that highlights rights and responsibilities of nations
and fidelity to the rule of law; and open access by all to the
global commons of sea, air, space, and now, cyberspace.
"I believe our work in Asia is laying the groundwork for
continued prosperity and security for the United States and
for the region," he said.
The US will do more and expand into other areas in
non-traditional ways, he added.
"We`ve taken a number of steps towards establishing a
defence posture across the Asia-Pacific that is more
geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and
politically sustainable," Gates said.
The military posture proposed will maintain American
presence in northeast Asia while enhancing US presence in
Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean area, he noted.