United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Saturday stressed that among many things, thre is a need for strengthening strategic ties with India.
"America's future our future, is clearly tied to its sustained global engagement. And a stronger strategic partnership with India is an irrevocable part of that future. The president, Vice President, Secretary of State and I, all believe that a stronger US-India partnership is critical for continued peace and prosperity not just in Asia pacific but around the globe," said Hagel during his speech at an event organized by the Observer Research Foundation here.
He also said that a robust bilateral defense partnership and joint military capabilities could become the cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries.
Hagel also admitted that both nations had tensions regarding China and efforts had to be made to mend relations. At the same time he said that India need not choose America over China. "Just as America need not choose between its Asian alliance and a constructive relationship with China, India need not choose between a closer partnership with America and improved ties with China. In our relationships with Beijing, both Delhi and Washington seek to man each competition, but avoid the traps of rivalry. We will continue to seek a stable and peaceful order in which China is a fellow trustee working cooperatively with both our nations," said Hagel.
He also spoke on other issues like jointly producing military arms, discovering mutual areas of interest with India, the strife in the Middle East and withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Hagel is on a three-day visit to India. His visit comes right after that of US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to New Delhi last week.