Defense Secretary: U.S. Policy of 'Strategic Interaction' Means No Intimidating

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and Indian naval officers during a tour of the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya at the Karwar naval base in India, April 11, 2016. (DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told sailors aboard the USS Blue Ridge that “the American approach to things” is “not to carve things up, it’s not to intimidate people or to coerce people to exclude people.”


Carter and his Indian counterpart, Defense Minster Manohar Parrikar, visited the command ship of the U.S. Seventh Fleet while stopped in Goa, India.

Carter assured the troops “you are what I wake up for every morning; you are what I’m thinking about all the time. It’s you, I know, that first of all, make ours the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”

He added that they “represent our style of strategic interaction.”

“The American style has always been to include people in protecting us all. That’s one of the reasons why people like working with us. It’s one of the reasons why we’re effective,” he said.

Carter reflected on decades of change in Asia. “Today, and here, where we are now, China also rising, prospering. That’s good. We’re for that. But it doesn’t come for free. There has to be peace and stability for that to happen. And so, we’ve been part of the system created by, in essence, with the rebalance, which you’ve heard about,” he said, lauding the “winning, strategic approach” of the U.S.

Asked at a press conference in Goa about India’s concerns of China’s maritime aggression, the Defense secretary stressed “the United States’ approach to this region is not to exclude or confront.”


“It is to do what we’ve been doing for 70 years, which is to knit people together and to help keep the peace and stability that has allowed the economic miracle and social miracle that you see in modern India and in modern China,” Carter said.

“So that’s the American approach. I can’t speak to the Indian approach, but I think India’s long had an independent, strategic perspective. And we respect that. And I think that their policy is one that I described earlier and that they described to me is being a net supplier of security in the region.”

India is trying to grow its fleet to be able to confront the threat of China.

Carter added that the U.S. approach “is very compatible with our policy, which is an inclusive one, not an exclusive one.”

“And one that is, you know, is based on principles and rule of law and the idea that everyone, everyone should rise,” he said.


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