Expressing the US' admiration for India's "event free" elections, a top US military official on Thursday said the Obama Administration looked forward to doing "open, candid" business with the new government, even as Washington pursued three important defence agreements with New Delhi.
US Pacific Command chief Admiral Timothy J Keating, who held discussions with top Indian officials here, told reporters that the US had respect and admiration for the democratic process in India, where 800 million people voted in a month-long process of electing a new government.
"We have respect and admiration for India conducting a relatively event free elections. The US looks forward to dealing in the same manner in open, candid manner in with we deal, as we did earlier, with the new government," he said.
Asked if he discussed with the Indian officials the three important cooperation deals -- the End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA), Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) and Communication Interoperability and Security Monitoring Agreement (CISMOA) -- that US was pursuing for some time, Keating said Washington looked forward to successful conclusion of the agreements and that Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, with whom he interacted on them, understood the US' desire to see the deal through so that both sides could get on with more important matters.
While EUMA was to ensure that India put to use US military equipment only for the agreed purpose for which it was sold, LSA was for payment-free supplies and replenishment for each other's military personnel and platforms such as fuel and food and CISMOA was for intelligence sharing in the region.
The three deals are mandatory under American laws and Washington has been pursuing it with India for a few years now after New Delhi started buying military equipment from the US, beginning with the USS Trenton amphibious warship (later rechristened as INS Jalashwa) in 2007.
Whether he held talks on easing of tension between India and Pakistan after the latter's President Asif Ali Zardari said the neighbouring country was not a threat, the US Admiral said decrease in tension between the South Asian neighbours would be "noteworthy and laudable", though he did not discuss it with the Indian officials.
However, he said, the discussions did include regional security challenges and it certainly included Pakistan. "We would certainly appreciate a decrease in tension," he added.