Identifying India as a major player in the region, the Pentagon has said that the United States is looking to deepen its relationship with New Delhi as the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta embarks on his fourth trip to the Asia Pacific region.
"With respect to India, he (Panetta) believes that India is a very important player. As you know, he recently visited the country and had very productive discussions in Delhi with his Indian counterparts," the Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters at a news conference here yesterday.
"India plays a very important role, and we're looking to deepen our relationship with the government of India, including the Deputy Secretary of Defence (Ashton) Carter's efforts to look at streamlining sales between the two countries. So India, the bottom line, is a key player in the region, and we look forward to continuing to build an even stronger defence relationship," Little said.
During his trip to India early this year, Panetta had entrusted Carter with the task of working with Indians to reduce bureaucratic hurdles in defence trade between India and the US.
"He (Carter) has been very active and engaged on this issue. I'm not aware of a specific report per se, but let me assure you that he is working on this matter very hard," the Pentagon spokesperson said.