'US looks forward to enhance mil-to-mil ties with India'

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit India next month

Washington: The US is looking forward to enhancing military-to-military relationship with the India, a top American military commander has said.

"We look forward to enhancing our mil-to-mil relationships with India. A couple of years ago, President Barack Obama reiterated that we will need to build a long-term, better and stronger relationship with India, and that includes our mil-to-mil participation," Admiral Samuel Locklear, the leader of American forces in the Pacific told Pentagon reporters at a news conference.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit India next month, immediately after fifth India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi this week, which would be co-chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry and India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Hagel's trip to India, the details of which have not been announced so far, is expected to give a big boost to defence ties between the two countries.

"I would recommend that he (Hagel) recognize that - and to relay to his (Indian) counterparts there that we're interested in building closer mil-to-mil relationships," Locklear said in response to a question.

"We have had for a number of years very good relationships between our services, between PACOM and the services there, and we have an ongoing number of exercises that seem to have worked pretty well for our growing partnership. So we look forward to the road ahead. We think it's all positive," he said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said, "India is an important country in the region. We look forward to continuing to make the relationship stronger and better."

( Source : PTI )
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