US has strongly praised India for its economic and political standing in the Asia-Pacific region. On an eve of his visit to India, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter went on laud India as a “very influential and powerful player”, which is going to play an ever increasingly role in the region.
Ashton Carter will be on a three-day visit to India starting Sunday to take up projects aimed at boosting Indo-US strategic ties.
“India is already a very influential and powerful force in the whole Indo Asia Pacific region, starting with the Indian Ocean,” Carter told the press in New York prior to his departure.
He also termed his visit an important step in the implementation of some of the key decisions being taken by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last two years. He, however, remained tight-lipped on the decisions to be taken during his visit that would take him to Goa and New Delhi.
“We will talk about exciting new projects, the details of which I cannot go into this afternoon,” the Defence Secretary said calling Obama administration’s Asia Pacific rebalance and Modi Government’s Act East policy as “strategic handshake” between the two largest democracies of the world.
“Obviously it (India) is going to play an ever-increasing role, a very positive role because of the values it stands (for).., championing of a co-operative approach to security,” he said in response to a question.
Carter, who has played a key role in this new phase of India-US defence relationship which started in his previous capacities at the Pentagon believes that India-US relationship is destined to be one of the most significant partnerships of the 21st century.
“It’s (India trip) to take some very important new steps and to implement what the President and the Prime Minister agreed last year and the (defence) framework (agreement) that I signed with Minister Parrikar last year,” Carter said on the eve of his second trip to India within last one year.
During his stay in India, Carter will also be spending nearly two days in Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s home town Goa. His Goa trip is also expected to be marked by the India visit of USS Blue Ridge.
“I would be visiting western naval base,” he said, adding that last year he had visited the eastern naval base.
After spending two days in Goa on April 10 and April 11, Carter would fly to New Delhi where among others he would meet Prime Minister Modi and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
(With inputs from the PTI)