Talks Reaffirm Growing U.S.-India Partnership

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2012 — Recent bilat­er­al secu­ri­ty talks between the Unit­ed States and India reaf­firmed the impor­tance of the part­ner­ship between the two nations and the grow­ing U.S. inter­est in advanc­ing it, as reflect­ed in the new defense strate­gic guid­ance, a senior offi­cial said today.

Act­ing Under Sec­re­tary of Defense for Pol­i­cy James N. Miller joined Indi­an Defense Sec­re­tary Shashi Kant Shar­ma in co-chair­ing the 12th annu­al U.S.-India Defense Pol­i­cy Group dia­logue in New Del­hi Feb. 21 and 22.

The trip, Miller’s first since assum­ing his post, demon­strates the Unit­ed States’ com­mit­ment to its rela­tion­ship with India, Robert Sch­er, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for South and South­east Asia, said dur­ing a media round­table.

Sch­er not­ed that India is the only coun­try the new strat­e­gy guid­ance specif­i­cal­ly iden­ti­fies for increased engage­ment, reflect­ing the pri­or­i­ty both Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and the Defense Depart­ment place on the part­ner­ship.

The annu­al Defense Pol­i­cy Group meet­ings aim to advance the two coun­tries’ strate­gic defense rela­tion­ship, enabling them to set pri­or­i­ties, take stock of progress and work through hur­dles that stand in the way, Sch­er said.

The agen­da focused on four basic areas: defense pro­cure­ment and pro­duc­tion, tech­ni­cal coop­er­a­tion, mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion and tech­ni­cal secu­ri­ty, he explained.

Miller and Shar­ma agreed to con­tin­ue con­cen­trat­ing on mar­itime secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion, defense trade and devel­op­ing new, coop­er­a­tive research and devel­op­ment projects for the upcom­ing year, Sch­er said.

They also reit­er­at­ed the impor­tance of main­tain­ing a “robust dia­logue on tech­ni­cal secu­ri­ty,” he said, and for the first time this year, exchanged best prac­tices involv­ing strat­e­gy devel­op­ments and capa­bil­i­ties-based plan­ning.

Both lead­ers expressed an inter­est in increas­ing per­son­al inter­ac­tions at all lev­els in their defense and mil­i­tary estab­lish­ments through con­tin­ued dia­logue, exer­cis­es, per­son­al exchanges and train­ing asso­ci­at­ed with defense sales, Sch­er said.

While in India, Miller vis­it­ed India’s nation­al defense col­lege, address­ing stu­dents there and shar­ing with them the Unit­ed States’ inter­est in advanc­ing its part­ner­ship with India.

“The key theme was the need to build peo­ple-to-peo­ple ties,” Sch­er said. Miller rec­og­nizes, he said, that “it is real­ly the next gen­er­a­tion of U.S. and Indi­an defense lead­ers and offi­cers who will deter­mine whether we will suc­ceed in real­iz­ing the full poten­tial of the U.S.-Indian rela­tion­ship.”

The dia­logue reaf­firmed the strength of the U.S.-India defense rela­tion­ship, Sch­er told reporters.

“There is gen­uine, pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment on both sides and a real desire to grow the rela­tion­ship in a pos­i­tive direc­tion,” he said. “A strong bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship is clear­ly in the U.S. inter­est and ben­e­fits both coun­tries.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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