US for a closer, stronger defense ties with India: Ashton Carter

Carter has said that his proposed visit to India is expected to set "new milestone" in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Washington: The US wants to develop a "closer and stronger" military ties with India, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said asserting that his proposed visit to the latter is expected to set "new milestone" in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

"What we are looking for is a closer relationship and a stronger relationship as we can, because it is geo-politically grounded," Carter said on Tuesday indicating that he will soon be heading towards India.

"The specific things we are doing with them is twofold. One, is we have the rebalance so to speak, westward from the United States. They have Act East, which is their strategic approach eastward," he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a top American think-tank.

These are like two hands grasping one another and that's a good thing, he added.

"Second, our defense technology and trade initiative, which is an effort to work with India and to do something they want to do. Which is, they want to improve their technical capabilities of their own defense industry and their own defense capabilities.

But they don't just want to be a buyer. They want to be a co-developer and co-producers. So, they want that kind of relationship," Carter said.

"That's what we are working with them on. And that matches very much up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India Initiative. And so, we are very much aligned in terms of what the government there is try to do strategically and economically and what we want to do with them defense wise," he said.

"When I go over there, we got a whole bunch of things that we will be announcing at that time. And I want to announce beforehand, but better, new milestones in this relationship," Carter said without indicating when will the visit take place.

In response to a question, Carter acknowledged that he does spend "a lot of time" on Indo-US defense ties.

"I think the word I've used with respect to the US and

India is destiny. Here are two great nations that share a lot: a democratic form of government, a commitment to individual freedom and so forth," Carter observed.

"I talked about values earlier on. India is a place where it's - sure it's a different culture. It's actually many cultures, all -- but, like us, it is a multicultural melting pot determined to work together. So we have a lot in common, in spirit," he said.

"We also have a lot of common interests geo-politically and geo-strategically. One of them is to keep a good thing going, in the whole Asia-Pacific, or Indo-Asia Pacific region," he said adding that the US is looking to do more with India.

"Indians are, like many others, also proud. So they want to do things independently. They want to do things their own way. They don't want to do things just with us. All that's fine. So we're not looking for anything exclusive," Carter said.

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