Page 46 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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During his 21 months in office, Hagel opened up the US military for the Sikhs, a long pending demand of Indian- Americans
that Sikhs be allowed in the force with their religious symbols intact. In an order issued this year, he permitted Sikhs to j oin
armed services on a case by case basis, with their religious symbols intact as long as they do not inte rfere in their work.
Sikh leaders have termed it as a step in the right direction.
The Pentagon, in a fact sheet, listed "Deepening the Strategic Relationship with India" as Hagel's key achievement.
"Understanding the importance of a rising and democrati c India to the future security and prosperity of Asia and South
Asia, encouraged deeper strategic and defense cooperation, including through the Defense Trade and Technology
Initiative and expanded mil -mil cooperation," the fact sheet said.
According to Hagel's aides, he understood the significance of India and the US-Indiamilitary-to-military relationship in the
emerging new geo-political landscape in the AsiaPacific region. This was one of the reasons why he visited India in the first
100 days of the new Indian Government and set pace of strengthened military and defense ties with India.
Hagel also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the latter met Obama at the White House in September. While he
might have been on the same page with India's former Def ense Minister A K Antony, Hagel appeared to be quite
comfortable and enthusiastic working with the Modi Government.
He was quick to appoint Frank Kendall as the Pentagon's point person for the India-US Defense Technology and Trade
Initiative and broke protocols by personally attending the Defense Policy Group meeting that took place here last month.
However, whenHagel was nominated the US Defense Secretary, a video surfaced inwhich he was seen making anti -India
remarks and one in favor of Pakistan. But towards the end of his tenure, he did not meet Pakistan Army Chief General
Raheel Sharif during his trip to the US this month, even though the latter extended his trip for a few days, in hope of
meeting with him.
As America's 24th Defense Secretary, he is the first Defense Secretary in nearly two decades to be confronted with the
reality of shrinking budgets and a growing demand forUS military support around the world. Hagel is said to have resigned
amid reports of differences withObamawho is apparently seeking to install anew leadership at the Pentagon as he enters
the last two years of his presidency facing new global challenges like the rise of IS.
Photo credit:
Copyright © Press Trust of India 2014, All Rights Reserved
India and United States Joint Statement on the Trade Policy Forum
India and the US, in a meeting co-chai red by trade minister Ni rmala Si tharaman (right) and US Trade Representative Michael Froman ,
laid out a one-year work programme to improve trade ties. Photo: PTI
Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Mr.
Michael Froman met in New Delhi on November 25, 2014 for the eighth mini sterial-level meeting of the India-United