Singapore: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday said he was planning to visit India later this year to drive “transformational cooperation” with the country which is playing an “active role” in strengthening security in Asia.
“We welcome India’s increasingly active role in Asia’s regional institutions, which strengthens regional order. We also welcome India’s growing defence capabilities and its commitment to freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean,” Hagel said in a wide-ranging policy speech at an international security conference, the Shangri la dialogue, in Singapore.
To strengthen defence ties, he said he was directing the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to lead the US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative with the Indian government.
“I plan to play an active and very personal role in expanding this initiative because it is a centrepiece of America’s defence cooperation with India, and it should reflect the trust and confidence President Obama and I have in our nation’s relationship with India.”
“To reinforce this effort — and to drive even more transformational cooperation — I hope to visit India later this year,” he said.