In a Times of India op-ed, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates discusses opportunities for closer cooperation between India and the U.S. and emphasizes the mutual interests of regional stability and security in South Asia.
Two years ago, during my first visit to India as the United States secretary of defence, I was struck by how much our relationship had improved since I was last in government in the early 1990s. With its dynamic free market and thriving democracy, India has emerged as a world power - one of the greatest shifts in the strategic landscape in recent memory. Our shared values and convergent interests form the foundation of our relationship - and have drawn us together even as governments have changed in our respective countries. At the same time, the security threats and challenges of the 21st century present new opportunities for our nations and militaries to work together in unprecedented ways.
I arrive in New Delhi today believing firmly that we must seize these opportunities because the peace and security of South Asia is critical not just to this region, but also to the entire international community. India can be a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond - making valuable contributions to stability operations across the globe. In many respects, that belief is at the heart of the 2005 defence framework agreement, which, five years in, has amply demonstrated how much our countries have to gain from a long-term, reliable defence relationship.