U.S. Exploring New Defense Ties in Asia-Pacific Region

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center left, walks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, center right, during a tour of the Mangeshi Temple in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India to solidify the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center left, walks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, center right, during a tour of the Mangeshi Temple in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India to solidify the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

The Asia-Pacific is the “single most consequential region” for America’s future, and the United States is actively working to further strengthen its ties in the region, defense secretary Ash Carter said last week.

The United States, which is focusing on its rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, has long played an “essential and pivotal role” in that region, Carter said.

Carter was speaking in New York City at the Council on Foreign Relations, on the eve of a two-week trip to the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East that includes stops in India, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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He discussed how the United States has played a pivotal role economically, politically and militarily in the Asia-Pacific region.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter talks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar during a welcome dinner in his honor by the beach in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz
Defense Secretary Ash Carter talks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar during a welcome dinner in his honor by the beach in Goa, India, April 10, 2016. Carter is visiting India to solidify the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

“We are working today, both individually and with our allies and partners, to ensure the Asia-Pacific remains a region where everyone can rise and prosper,” he said.

Democracy and freedom have spread across the region, the secretary said. He highlighted economic successes in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, China and India.

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Carter called for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, calling it “one of the most important strategic parts” of the rebalance to the region. The TPP will unlock economic opportunities for the U.S. and many of its partners, he said.

Strengthening alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region will be the focus of his visit to India and the Philippines.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of Defense

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Rakesh Raman