WASHINGTON, June 3, 2015 – Defense Secretary Ash Carter met Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an official visit to India yesterday and today.
Carter also met the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and he also visited the Indian navy’s Eastern Naval Command.
A joint statement issued by U.S. and Indian officials said Parrikar and Carter discussed the India-U.S. defense relationship and the broader India-U.S. strategic partnership, and that they reaffirmed their commitment to expand and deepen the bilateral defense relationship. The two defense leaders also reviewed the existing and emerging regional security dynamics, the statement said.
Parrikar and Carter signed the 2015 Framework for the India-U.S. Defense Relationship, which builds upon the previous framework and successes to guide the bilateral defense and strategic partnership for the next 10 years, officials said. The new framework agreement provides avenues for high-level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between armed forces of both countries and strengthening of defense capabilities, they added.
The framework also recognizes the transformative nature of the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the statement said, noting that both India and the United States have finalized two project agreements for joint development of mobile electric hybrid power sources and the next-generation protective ensembles.
Expedited Discussions on Cooperation
In addition, building on the areas of agreement during President Barack Obama's visit to India in January, the statement said, Parrikar and Carter agreed to expedite discussions to take forward cooperation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction and other areas. The two also agreed to pursue co-development and co-production projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defense industries to build defense partnership with the Indian industries, including in manufacturing under a national program geared toward making India a manufacturing hub.
Parrikar and Carter agreed to continue their efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security and knowledge partnership in the field of defense, the statement said.
Carter thanked Parrikar for India’s help in the search for the U.S. helicopter that went missing last month during earthquake relief operations in Nepal, and he invited Parrikar to visit the United States for their next meeting. Parrikar accepted the invitation in principle, the statement said.