WASHINGTON: The US very much appreciates its defence ties with India and will continue to foster partnership with the country in the area, the Pentagon has said. The remarks by Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder came during a news conference here on Thursday.
“We very much appreciate our relationship with India on a defence level. We continue to foster a stronger defence partnership with India and that is something that I think you’ll continue to see us do going forward,” Ryder said.
In 1997, defence trade between India and the US was almost negligible, today it stands above USD 20 billion.
Responding to a question, Ryder said China remains the “pacing challenge” for the Department of Defence.
“We do appreciate the partnership that we have with India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region when it comes to preserving individual nations’ sovereignty and abiding by the international rules-based order that has preserved peace and stability for many years,” he said.
The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
Ryder’s remarks came days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the American capital during which he met top US officials, including Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
During their meeting, Jaishankar and Austin held a productive conversation with him on deepening bilateral defence cooperation, including in the co- production of defence articles, and exchanged perspectives on a variety of security issues.
Source: Times of India