India ‘Powerful Player’ In Asia Pacific: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – NDTV

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New York:  Describing India as a “very influential and powerful player” in the Asia Pacific, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said the US has a “whole global agenda” with that country while its relationship with Pakistan has more to do with issues of terrorism and Afghanistan.

Ahead of his second visit to India beginning tomorrow in less than a year, Mr Carter also said “exciting new projects” will be discussed during his talks with Indian leaders to give a boost 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,” Mr Carter told Press Trust of India.

Mr Carter said that his three-day trip would be 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.

However, Mr Carter remained tight-lipped on the decisions to be taken during his India trip that would take him to Goa and New Delhi. Mr Carter will be in India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar.

“We will talk about exciting new projects, the details of which I cannot got into this afternoon,” the Defence Secretary told a New York audience before the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank, yesterday for which he specially flew to the Big Apple to give a key policy

When asked about the impact of India-US relationship on Pakistan, Mr Carter reiterated that from the perspective of the US there is no India-Pak hyphenation.

“We are long past the point in US policy-making where we look at the India-Pakistan dyad as the whole story for either one of them. We have much more to do with India today than has to do with Pakistan,” Carter said.

“There is important business with respect to Pakistan, but we have much more, a whole global agenda with India, agenda that covers all kinds of issues,” he said.

“With respect to Pakistan totally different. We have a big set of issues having to do with the border with Afghanistan where we continue to operate, with terrorism, both on the territory of Pakistan and also obviously cross-border into Afghanistan, including affecting US service members there,” he said.

Obama Administration’s “Asia Pacific rebalance” and Modi Government’s “Act East Asia” is what Carter described to the New York audience 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,” Carter said in response to a question.

The Defense Secretary acknowledged that India’s “influence stems all the way around, South East Asia and into East Asia”, and also referred to the close relationship it now has with Japan in the Asia Pacific region.


India ‘Powerful Player’ In Asia Pacific: US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – NDTV}