WASHINGTON: The deepening security cooperation between the US and India shows the growing trust between the world's two largest democracies, Defense Secretary James Mattis has said.
In his address to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute on Saturday, Mattis also said that the US seeks a constructive, results-oriented relationship with Beijing.
"In the Indo-Pacific region, we keep our decades-old alliances strong by building new partnerships.
From this year's historic visit of the USS Carl Vinson to Vietnam, to our deepening security cooperation with India, which shows the growing trust between the world's two largest democracies, both Pacific powers," Mattis said.
"But we do not accept predatory economic practices or coercion of smaller states. No one nation can, on its own, change the international order or veto other nations' diplomatic, economic or security decisions," he said.
Responding to questions, Mattis said that in recent months he has had several meetings with his Chinese counterpart.
"There's no doubt in my mind that China wants to return to what it believes is its rightful place in the world as a great nation," he said.
"I believe that we're going to have to find ways to work with China, two nuclear-armed powers, superpowers, in a manner that when we step on each other's toes, which may happen from time to time, we have a way to manage those issues, and we are working quietly, and I would say quite closely together, my Chinese counterpart and myself, Secretary Pompeo and State Counselor Yang, we are working on trying to craft that way ahead," Mattis said.
The Trump Administration is looking for cooperation with China. "We will confront them where we must. But it is now our desire to end up in that situation; it's to find a way to manage a new relationship," he said.
"I believe 10 years from now, 15 years from now, what the Trump administration will be most remembered for, were we able to create that new way to operate with China? Where we able to create a mechanism by which we could maneuver on the world stage economically, diplomatically, security-wise, and keep the peace, and not stumble into a miscalculation?" said the defence secretary.
Mattis in his speech also referred to the aggressive posture by Russians in Europe.
He said the already strained ties between Washington and Moscow have "no doubt" worsened over Russian's continued attempts to interfere in the US voting process.