Thứ Bảy, 9 tháng 8, 2014

India need not choose between US and China: Chuck Hagel




India need not choose between US and China: Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel urged India to increase its security cooperation with Japan and the US so the three nations can increase their defence cooperation.

NEW DELHI: The United States and India must seize opportunities to collaborate more on defence development and not let government red tape and other problems stymie progress between the two nations, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday.

Capping two days of meetings here, Hagel's speech to New Delhi business leaders and scholars reflected the hopes and frustrations of America's struggles to forge weapons development agreements with India.

Hagel leaves India with few concrete agreements, acknowledging the two countries — the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest — must be "results oriented" and do more to "transform our nations' defence cooperation from simply buying and selling to co-production, co-development, and freer exchange of technology."

In meetings with top Indian government leaders he pressed for broader coordination in new weapons production, including a pilot plan for the two nations to jointly develop a next-generation anti-tank missile. The US is hoping to partner with India as it modernizes its military, but Indian leaders are more interested in co-development opportunities than in simply buying American-made weapons.

"For both our nations, the challenge is to seize the opportunities, those opportunities that are before us today," Hagel said in remarks to the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi thinktank. "Bureaucratic red tape — within either of our governments — must not bound the limits of our partnership and initiatives."



Hagel said the new initiative includes more than a dozen proposals that would transfer technology and production expertise to India. They included a plan for the US and India to co-produce and co-develop, the next upgrade of the Javelin anti-tank missile which would be cheaper, lighter and more capable.

Accompanying Hagel on the visit has been Frank Kendall, the defence undersecretary for acquisition who is leading the new initiative.

The development initiative is part of a broader US effort to improve what has often been a rocky relationship with India, which is seen as a key ally in Asia, in part as a possible countermeasure to China.

In his speech, Hagel acknowledged tensions over China, saying the US and India must continue to work together on regional issues while avoiding "traps of rivalry."

India, he said, "need not choose between closer partnership with America and improved ties with China." But he also urged India to increase its security cooperation with Japan and the US so the three nations can increase their defence cooperation.

His speech was met with a bit of skepticism, as one audience member questioned how committed the US is to focusing on the technology cooperation when America is embroiled in so many foreign policy challenges around the world.

Hagel agreed there are many challenges, and the world will only get more complicated, but great powers have the responsibility to lead and deal with such complex issues.