‘Expanding Military Ties’: Rajnath After Meeting US Defence Secy
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is on a three-day visit to India.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met visiting US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in New Delhi on Saturday, 20 March, during which they talked about wide-ranging defence cooperation, expanding the military-to-military engagement, information-sharing and cooperation in emerging areas of defence and mutual logistics support.
“We are determined to expand India-US cooperation – from bilateral and multilateral exercises to developing closer bilateral linkages. We intend to pursue enhanced cooperation between the Indian military and US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command and Africa Command,” Singh said.
According to the defence minister, the two countries also reviewed bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed on increased cooperation between the Indian military, US Indo-Pacific command, Centre Command and Africa Command.
"We've signed LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA agreements, and we've agreed to realise their full potential," said Singh.
Singh also talked about the US’ participation in Aero India 2021 along with a business delegation.
“I invited the US industry to take advantage of India’s liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) policies in the defence sector. We both agreed that there are opportunities for collaboration in the defence industry.”Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
India an Important Partner in Rapidly Shifting International Dynamics: Austin
“Our relationship is a stronghold of free and open Indo-Pacific region. PM Modi stated India stands for freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce in adherence to international law. This reaffirms our shared vision for regional security,” Austin said in the joint statement.
Austin called India "an increasingly important partner in the rapidly shifting international dynamics" and reaffirmed the US' commitment to a “comprehensive forward-looking defence partnership with India” for its approach to the Indo-Pacific region.
“Our relationship is a stronghold of free and open Indo-Pacific region. PM Modi stated that India stands for freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce in adherence to international law. This reaffirms our shared vision for commitment to regional security.”US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin
Austin also extended his condolences to the Indian Air Force pilot who lost his life in an accident that took place earlier this week.
"I would like to express my deepest condolences for the tragic accident that killed an Indian Air Force pilot earlier this week. Our hearts go out to his family and friends...and his death reminds us of the risks our brave servicemen and women take each day to defend our democracies, our people, and our way of life," he said.
IAF Group Captain Ashish Gupta lost his life after a MiG-21 Bison aircraft of the Indian Air Force met with a fatal accident on Wednesday, 17 March, while taking off for a combat training mission at an airbase in central India.
Later on Saturday, Austin was also welcomed by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and had a wide-ranging conversation on the global strategic situation.
Austin, who is on a three-day visit to India, arrived in the country on Friday.
Upon his arrival, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He embarked on his Indo-Pacific visits on 13 March, a day after the leaders of the Quad nations – India, Australia, Japan, the US – virtually met for their first summit.
The leaders discussed working towards an open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
The member countries also pointed out the challenges posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region and how the partnerships can be strengthened to overcome the assertiveness of China.
Before arriving in India, Austin had visited Japan and South Korea. India and the US share close defence cooperation with Washington authorising over $20 billion in defence sales to India.
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