World

US, India move forward on joint military projects; Part of effort to build relations in Asia

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter inspects a Guard of Honor during his ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter inspects a Guard of Honor during his ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter speaks to a soldier after receiving a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter speaks to a soldier after receiving a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter pays homage at the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter pays homage at the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. Carter is in India on a three-day visit where he is expected to sign a ten-year defense pact. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)  (The Associated Press)

The U.S. and India are moving ahead with two joint research projects for the military that officials hope will set the stage for greater defense cooperation in the years ahead.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar are signing a defense agreement Wednesday. It's part of a broader U.S. effort to improve what has been a rocky relationship between the two countries.

The U.S. views India as a key ally in the Asia Pacific, in part as a countermeasure to China and a lynchpin in America's effort to deepen military and diplomatic ties with countries at Beijing's doorstep.

Carter acknowledged the difficulties on both sides in breaking through the red tape to achieve more development cooperation, but said things are moving forward.