Press Trust of India
Washington, 11 October: The Pentagon’s number-two ranking official, deputy secretary of Defence Ashton Carter, who has played a critical role in enhancing defence ties between India and the USA, has resigned.
“Earlier today, I met with Ash Carter and reluctantly accepted his decision to step down as deputy secretary of defence on December 4th, after more than four and a half years of continuous service to the Department of Defence,” US defence secretary Chuck Hagel said yesterday.
Mr Carter, 59, started serving as the deputy from October 2011 under former Defence Secretary Leon Panetta. The Pentagon did not give any reason for his resignation.
“The decision to depart the Pentagon later this year was deputy secretary Carter’s and his alone. He’ll be missed by the secretary. They’ve had a strong and effective working relationship and friendship that will continue for the next two months and beyond,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
The announcement was made at a senior Pentagon leadership staff meeting, where Mr Carter received a standing ovation from Mr Hagel and the rest of the leadership team, Mr Little said.
Mr Hagel described Mr Carter as an extraordinarily loyal and effective deputy secretary.
“He possesses an un-parallel knowledge of every facet of America’s defence enterprise, having worked directly and indirectly for eleven secretaries of defence over the course of his storied career,” Mr Hagel said.
Mr Carter visited India in September and was instrumental in the path-breaking Carter-Menon initiative under which the two countries have decided to jointly develop and produce high-technology defence equipment.
A former Harvard professor and Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, Mr Carter had served at the Pentagon during Bill Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s and is deemed an expert on arms control.
In a resignation letter, Mr Carter said he had long planned to wrap up his tenure on December 4th but had postponed making the announcement due to the “turbulence surrounding the fiscal situation.”