Washington: As the Obama Administration moves towards strategic re-balance in the Asia-Pacific region, the US today said that it was working with India to develop increased defence co-operation.
"We are working with India to develop increased defence cooperation," US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters travelling with him on his 4th trip to the Asia Pacific region.
Early this year during his trip to India, Panetta had entrusted one of his top officials to work on reducing bureaucratic hurdles to increase India-US defence trade.
"My deputy at the Defence Department is working very closely with India to try to advance that progress," Panetta said.
During his current week-long trip Panetta is travelling to Australia, Cambodia and Thailand for regional and bi-lateral consultations, which comes ahead of the South East Asia trip of US President Barack Obama.
"The rebalancing to this region is a very important part of the new Defence strategy that we announced and that the effort to rebalance is real. It's going to be long-term. I mean part of this is long-term strategy and in which we'll continue to work at this. But we've also made some very tangible progress at rebalancing just in this past year," he said.
Panetta said the US has made good progress with China.
"As you all know, on China trip, we made good progress in trying to improve our mil-to-mil relationship and to try to develop a strategic dialogue into some very key areas that are extremely important if we really are going to advance peace and prosperity in the region," he said.