SECDEF Hagel to Visit India

By Kevin O’Brien, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Photo: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and members of the press at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, Aug. 6, 2014. Hagel is meeting with leaders in Germany, India and Australia during his 15th international trip as defense secretary. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt/Released)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to service members and members of the press at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, Aug. 6, 2014. Hagel is meeting with leaders in Germany, India and Australia during his 15th international trip as defense secretary. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt/Released)

Just in case you missed it – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spent the day in Stuttgart, Germany meeting with EUCOM’s commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove and received a brief on the updates in Ukraine and the reassurance initiatives the U.S. is undertaking with our NATO allies. Secretary Hagel also spoke to service members and their families at a town hall and thanked them for their service.

BTW- This was the Secretary’s first stop on his whirlwind, Around-the-World-in-9 Days trip (For future reference I will abbreviate his trip as ATWIND).  FYI - It just so happens this is Secretary Hagel’s 15th international trip, and to celebrate this milestone, the Secretary’s travel team will all wear matching socks while whistling the Harlem Globetrotter theme song as they cross the international dateline. (JK!) FYI- I’ve used 6 acronyms in my blog so far (2 FYIs now 3) which now makes 7 acronyms. BTW (#8), I think this is a DoDLive record! Bragging rights for me and hopefully a K-Cup (that’s #9.  I can’t stop!) reward from my fellow bloggers.

Part deux of Secretary Hagel’s ATWIND tour will start tomorrow with a stop in New Delhi, India where he’s scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Indian leaders including Defense Minister Arun Jaitley. Hagel will deliver a speech at the Observer Research Foundation, a prominent Indian think-tank. This is significant as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Observer Research Foundation. Congrats!

Secretary Hagel will discuss the situation in Afghanistan with Indian officials as well as ways to strengthen U.S.-Indian defense cooperation, including military exercises, defense, trade, co-production and co-development, and research and new technologies through the (Defense Technology and Trade Initiative).  DTTI was developed two years ago, and is based on the premise that U.S. -India defense cooperation could – and should – be expanded. The path to expansion is through a combination of new opportunities and joint commitment to removing artificial barriers to cooperation – by both India and the U.S. DTTI with India is not just buying and selling new technologies, but co-production and co-development of these defense technologies.

Let’s face it, United States and India are two countries with a lot of people (India has 1.23 billion!). Despite being separated by many oceans, we are destined to be security partners on the world stage. Both U.S. and India hate piracy and terrorism. So to counter those threats, both nations recently participated in RIMPAC, the world’s largest (and most awesome) multi-national maritime exercise. RIMPAC provided a unique training opportunity that helped participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.  Moreover, following the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai, both the U.S. and India collaborated to train first responders to protect innocent citizens and both continue to be vigilant.

So you can see why Hagel’s ATWIND stop in India is so important. This visit will also be another step in U.S. efforts to prepare for newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the White House next month.

In short, Secretary Hagel is doing a lot of great stuff. Stuff = European reassurance, refocus to the Asia-Pacific and his personal commitment to U.S. partnerships.

Keep following us on DoDLive as we continue our coverage of ATWIND!

For those of you not keeping track – #17Acronyms.

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