An image, taken from the Pentagon's website, of my asking Panetta in Delhi why the US was holding back on providing India technology for the Javelin missile. Panetta emphatically rejected that the US was holding back... but I know that he was being economical with the truth.
American Forces Press Service has reported on Ashton Carter’s account of his visit to the Asia-Pacific (Japan, Thailand, India and South Korea in that order) at the end of last month. Karen Parrish of American Forces Press Service has reported on Ashton Carter’s account of his visit to the Asia-Pacific (Japan, Thailand, India and South Korea in that order) at the end of last month. Here are excerpts from what he said on 27th July 12, on board a special aircraft back to Washington.
“I think that what our partners and allies in this region are looking for is confirmation that the United States is serious and concrete about shifting … a great deal of our emphasis from the places we have been -- of necessity -- preoccupied for the last decade, namely Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Asia-Pacific region.”
Carter revealed that he gave allies a level of planning detail and a number of examples relating to specific U.S. strategic rebalancing events that helped them understand “that we are, as I said at the beginning of the trip, walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”
Carter cited two reasons for his confidence that DOD can rebalance to the Asia-Pacific even with a constrained defense budget.
Firstly, the excess capacity already freed up from Iraq and the additional capacity that will become available as the US draws down from Afghanistan. Those resources will be diverted towards building up the U.S. military posture in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The second reason is that we are prioritizing capabilities that are particularly relevant to this region in our budget…. Even though we don’t have all the money we want, we have all the money we need for the Asia-Pacific,” said Carter.
On his visit to India, Carter said: “…In India, which was very important … I discussed with all of the senior leadership in the Indian government ways that we can strengthen our cooperation and deepen it technologically.”
Noting that India does not just want to be a customer for US weaponry, Carter said: “They have a proud technological heritage. And they want a relationship that enriches that, and enables that -- not just a buyer-seller relationship.”
Carter said that the US had been backstopping Asian security for decades: “We have been playing this role in the Asia-Pacific theater for many decades. And all we’re saying is that we intend to continue to play it. That needs to be emphasized, because many people in the region and also in our own country have been preoccupied, very understandably, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“And they may have lost sight of the fact that an anchoring commitment of global security is here in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Carter, “and we are that anchor.”