India and the US have agreed to further expand their growing defence partnership to make it what a top US official called an anchor of global security as he welcomed India's rise in the Asia Pacific region.
Defence and security cooperation was a vital component of India-US strategic partnership, India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said here on Thursday after wide-ranging talks with US Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon.
The 10-year defence framework agreement signed by the two in June "reflects our shared attempt towards maintenance of international peace and security and promotion of rule based order", he told a rare joint press conference after the talks.
Parrikar said he had apprised Carter of key policy decisions including the increase in FDI limit in defence sector to 49 percent, a liberal offset policy and improved ease of doing business.
These, he said, "had opened up immense opportunities for the US companies to set up their manufacturing in India in collaboration with Indian companies".
"What we see going on between our two countries is a handshake of two compatible initiatives - India's Make in India initiative, India's Act East Policy, the UD Defence Technology and Trade initiative (DTTI) and America's rebalance to the Asia Pacific," Carter said.
"We welcome India's rise as a security partner in the (Asia Pacific) region where half of humanity lives and half of the world's economic activity takes place," he said.
He and Parrikar, Carter said had discussed how with "expanded cooperation in the days to come US-India partnership will become an anchor of global security as together we work towards a common future between US and India that's destined".
Earlier on arrival at Pentagon on Thursday morning, Carter hosted an enhanced honour cordon to welcome him on the steps of defence department's Pentagon River Entrance.
He had on Wednesday night hosted a dinner for Parrikar.
After the joint press event, Carter and Parrikar flew off to USS Eisenhower to view flight operations while the ship is at sea. This made him the first Indian defence minister to board a US aircraft carrier.
Parrikar on Monday became the first Indian defence minister to visit the US Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)