April 2016 brought a most remarkable trip to India by a US Secretary of Defense in recent memory. Ashton Carter is the most well-versed SECDEF we’ve seen on matters related to India, as the videos below will show. On a substantive level, the two sides talked about surprisingly advanced levels of technology sharing, weapons co-production, and logistical cooperation. These types of discussions never happened before. Washington is clearly trying to push further than New Delhi seems comfortable with, and Carter stands out for remaining assertive, yet understanding and patient through it all in recognition of India’s lively internal political processes.
The USS Blue Ridge docked in Indian harbors in time for Carter’s arrival. Early in the trip Carter gave a speech to the sailors and marines aboard the 7th fleet’s command ship, focused on why the United States was working so closely with India on security issues. The most memorable part was when Carter told them, “Our militaries grew up separately, our technologies grew up separately… now when we want them to work together, we have to try to get the gears to match up, and that’s not automatic; we have to work on it…that’s why I’m here, that’s why you’re here, but it’s a winning hand we’re playing out here… remember, when you look back, in the years ahead, and say ‘I remember that, I was part of the beginning of that’ – you will, I promise you, in the future be thinking exactly that.”
The following clips show Carter visiting Old Goa, including a temple and a church, guided by Parrikar who was formerly Chief Minister of that state.
The following two interviews on NDTV show that Carter is very much in his depth while talking of the US-India relationship, and many other subjects.
Carter was also in attendance at a repatriation ceremony for the remains of World War II KIA, finally unearthed in recent days in Arunachal Pradesh.