A former official of the Pentagon has described India as the “biggest strategic opportunity” for the US, and in order to achieve better cooperation, stressed upon the need for ambition and “mutual flexibility” between the two countries.
Kelly Magsamen, the former US principal deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asian and pacific security affairs said “I would say the biggest strategic opportunity is India,” in a Congressional hearing on Asia Pacific region.
“The US and India increasingly share a common strategic outlook on the Asia Pacific, especially a mutual concern over Chinese military modernisation and adventurism, but the question here is, can we reach a new level of cooperation to place limits on Chinese ambition?
“I believe it is possible, but only if the United States and India together persist in overcoming the suspicions of the past and build stronger habits of actual cooperation. And this is going to require the US and Indian systems, which are not naturally compatible, to demonstrate mutual flexibility as well as ambition”, she added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy ‘Act East’ seems to be strategic and very compatible with US rebalance.
“But more importantly, we share common values as the world’s two largest democracies and as well as a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. In many ways, we are natural partners,” she said.
Even Ashton Carter, former US defence secretary described India as “Major Defence Partner” of the US. This gives India a unique status in terms of sharing technology and defence trade.
“I was pleased to see National Security Adviser LTG HR McMaster recently reaffirm the US-India Strategic Partnership and specifically our defence cooperation with India. It is essential that we sustain the momentum,” Magsamen said.
In order to prevent bureaucracies from hampering the chance of progress, the top leadership from both countries need to push for growth.
“I found that we often stand in our own way. But India also has to demonstrate that it is prepared to let go of its old fears. The US does not seek an actual alliance, nor should we, but we do seek a meaningful partnership that benefits us too,” she said.
“Our strategic partnership will reach its value limits in the defence realm, if we cannot build practical habits of cooperation. For example, we need to operate and exercise more together and with others, facilitate more exchanges of our military personnel, and regularise our defence dialogues at
every level,” Magsamen added.
Source: Times Now