US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter says he has spent more time with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in little over an year than any of his other foreign counterparts, a relationship he attributed to "the new bonhomie" in India-US ties.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter says he has spent more time with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in little over an year than any of his other foreign counterparts, a relationship he attributed to “the new bonhomie” in India-US ties.
“Even before today’s very productive discussion, which was our sixth meeting since I became Secretary of Defence, I had already spent more time with Minister Parrikar than I had with any other defence counterpart anywhere in the world,” Carter told reporters at a joint news conference with his Indian counterpart yesterday.
Heaping praise on the Defence Minister, Carter said: “One (of the reasons) is Minister Parrikar himself. He is a strong and effective leader. He is an innovator. He is a great partner and a true friend.”
“The second reason that Minister Parrikar and I spent so much time together is that the US-India relationship is destined to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century,” he said.
“We share so much, so many interests and values, as well as a common vision for peace, for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. As Minister Parrikar’s busy itinerary and our extensive deliberations today demonstrate, that destiny is rapidly and surely becoming a reality,” Carter said, soon after the two leaders concluded talks at the Pentagon.
After according Parrikar a ceremonial welcome at the Pentagon, the Defence Secretary accompanied him to the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon.
“Fifteen years ago this week, our DOD community lost so many friends and colleagues and our nation lost too many fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, sons and daughters,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I know also that the Indian air force recently experienced a tragedy of its own. One of its aircraft disappeared last month with nearly 30 people on board. On behalf of the men and women of the Defence Department, I offer our thoughts and our prayers for those missing and their families,” Carter said.