ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Sept. 18, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter today wrapped up a weeklong overseas trip that included stops in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
After spending three days in Afghanistan, Carter stopped in Islamabad, Pakistan, for talks with senior defense and government officials. Among the topics discussed was the importance of Pakistan’s continued economic development to the security of the region, Carter said today.
The economic development of Pakistan is essential, he said.
“Their neighbor to the east is running away from them economically,” Carter noted. To develop its economy, Pakistan first needs peaceful relations with India to begin trading with them, the deputy defense secretary said.
Pakistan is critical to U.S. and regional security, the deputy secretary said.
“Unless it’s part of the solution, it becomes part of the problem in Afghanistan,” Carter said.
“The government of Pakistan has flirted over time with using terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” Carter added. “It is coming to the realization that terrorism is a boomerang, and it comes back on you when you try to use it for your own purposes.”
The principal threat to Pakistan is terrorism, he said, not its neighbors.
Carter spent yesterday meeting with senior Indian defense officials in New Delhi, including Defense Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and Defense Minister A.K. Antony. He also met with U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Pelletier at the American Embassy.
The U.S. and India are destined to be security partners on the world stage, Carter said. The two countries share common interests, values and outlooks, he added, noting that the multifaceted defense relationship between them is the defining partnership of the 21st century.
A central topic of discussion was the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, which is intended to increase defense industrial and technology cooperation, Carter said. The agreement isn’t just about selling defense equipment to India, the deputy defense secretary noted; it’s about fostering joint ventures.
“They don’t want to just buy our stuff,” Carter said. “They want to build our stuff with us and they want to develop new things with us, and they want to do research with us.”
The joint C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft venture between the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata and Lockheed Martin is a perfect model of co-production, he said.
“India is now part of the supply chain [for the aircraft], and has the economic benefit -- the jobs benefit -- of being part of that,” Carter said.
Future defense projects between the two countries will include both co-development and co-production, the deputy defense secretary said.
Today, Carter traveled to Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, India, the largest air base in Asia and home to No. 77 Squadron, which operates the six C-130J aircraft India acquired in 2008. The aircraft have been used in several humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations throughout the country. In August, a pilot from the squadron set a world record for the highest-altitude landing and takeoff, landing at an airstrip 16,614 feet above sea level.
Hindon also is home to the recently formed No. 81 Squadron. Known as the Skylords, the squadron was formed in September to fly the Indian air force’s new C-17 Globemaster III transport jets, which began arriving earlier this year. Three of the heavy-lift aircraft have been delivered so far under the $4 billion deal, and seven more are scheduled to arrive by November 2014.
“We want India to have all the capabilities it needs to meet its security needs, and we want to be a key partner in that effort,” Carter said.
“When you look at pictures of the Indian air force’s C-130s participating in the recent flood relief efforts in the north, … that tells us we’re on the right track,” he added.