"In the coming years, we look to India to be a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond," US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
Identifying India as one of the emerging power centres, Gates said: "When it comes to India, we have seen a watershed in our relations -- cooperation that would have been unthinkable in the recent past." Transcripts of his speech were made available by the Department of Defence in Washington.
"As Admiral Keating, commander of United States Pacific Command, recently wrote, it is a 'genuine convergence of national interests'," Gates said.
During his speech, Gates also praised India's positive role in development of Afghanistan post-Taliban.
The Defence Secretary said the strategic landscape of Asia continues to evolve as new and re-emerging centres of power -- from China and Russia, to India and Indonesia -- combined with other shifts, give impetus to the search for a new security architecture in the region.
On US-China relations, Gates said the United States is working with China on common challenges -- from economic matters to security issues such as regional areas of tension, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, energy security, piracy, and disaster relief.
"It is essential for the United States and China to find opportunities to cooperate wherever possible. This includes maintaining a defence relationship marked by consistent and open channels of communication and contact," he said.
The United States, for its part, will remain committed to this goal. "Likewise, it is essential that we are transparent -- both to each other and to the rest of the world -- about our strategic goals, political intentions, and military development," Gates said.
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