New Delhi: Stressing on the importance of the Indo-US relationship, United States Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel today said that a stronger partnership between both the countries is critical for sustained peace and prosperity around the globe.
“A stronger US-India partnership is critical for sustained peace and prosperity around the globe. US is working with India in sectors all across the commercial scope. There is bipartisan support in the US for stronger India-US relations,” said Hagel.
“As our interests align, so should our armed forces. Increased investment towards defence industrial partnership with India is the way of going forward. A robust defence partnership and joint military capabilities are to be the cornerstone of Indo-US relationship,” he said.
“The challenge is to seize opportunity, and increasing FDI caps will push defence relations to it’s full potential. Building a broader collaboration on India-US’s scientific and technological interests is also vital,” he added.
He further stated that Indian elections this year reflected the power of a democracy and its people.
“India’s elections were a reminder that democracy is not only how we vote, but also who we are.
It is no coincidence that the son of a tea seller becomes Indian Prime Minister and a child born in a small Kenyan family becomes US President,” Hagel said.
“By inviting SAARC leaders in the swearing in ceremony, PM Modi signaled better relations with Pakistan. USA recognizes India’s stake in peace in Afghanistan and will seek to assist in regional security,” he said.
He also said that partnering with China should remain a priority for both the countries.
“Also, partnering with China is and should remain a priority for both India and USA, without impeding their own relationship. I have also invited PM Modi to visit the Pentagon when he visits Washington next month,” he added.
Yesterday, Hagel met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to hold discussions to strengthen military ties between the United States and India.
Hagel’s visit follows U.S Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s recent three day bilateral visit to India.