GOA, India (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited the 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge, Apr. 11, meeting with Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin and Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar, during the ship's port visit to Goa, India.
The three, along with staff officials, attended an office call hosted by 7th Fleet where they discussed the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific, the vital and growing relationship between the U.S. and India, and the importance of the Indian Ocean to the security of the region and global economy.
"This is a very significant visit because we have so many activities that we're doing together jointly to help secure this part of the world and other parts of the world; our great partner in India," said Carter speaking to reporters during the visit to the ship.
Carter also spoke with Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call. He thanked them for their service and their contributions to the expanding relationships in the theater.
"You represent our style of strategic interaction, working with others to make a better world for everyone and a better world for all of our children. That's the American approach to things."
Blue Ridge's regularly scheduled port visits to Mumbai and Goa marked the ship's first visit to India in 11 years. During the ship's visit, the more than 900 Sailors and Marines, including embarked 7th Fleet staff, interacted with the local community through community service events and conducted various engagements with their counterparts in the Indian Navy.
The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.