India and the US at the end of talks between the visiting US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and defense minister Rajnath Singh have agreed to further expand their military engagement.
The talks between the two dignatries were focused on wide range of issues related to defence cooperation, information sharing in emerging areas, and mutual logistical support.
The US Defense Secretary’s visit is the first one from the new Biden administration. And is an indication on how the two countries are keen on forging stronger relations to push back the belligerent China.
At the end of the meeting, jointly addressing the media persons in New Delhi, the defence minister Rajnath Singh said “The talks which were comprehensive and fruitful were more focused on military-to-military engagement.” Adding, “Both countries are keen to realize the full potential of the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.”
As has been reported earlier India and the US also reviewed bilateral and multilateral exercises and have agreed on increased cooperation between the Indian military, the US Indo-Pacific, Central, and Africa Commands.
The joint statement talked about the steps to implement bilateral defense pacts such as Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
Reaffirming the US commitment to a comprehensive forward-looking defence partnership with India as a central pillar of their approach to the Indo-Pacific region, the US Defense Secretary stated, “In rapidly shifting international dynamics, India continues to be an important partner.”
Adding, “PM Modi stated India stands for freedom of navigation & freedom of over flight, unimpeded lawful commerce in adherence to international law. This reaffirms our shared vision for regional security.”
Rajnath Singh told the media “To address challenges like drug trafficking, IUU fishing, environment disasters, as well as oil spills, there a need for enhanced capacity building.”
The visiting US dignitary read out that the two sides are continuing to advance new areas of collaboration. “These include: cooperation in new domains such as space and cyber, AI, Information Sharing, and Logistics Cooperation.” And, further engagement with like-minded partners through multilateral groupings such as the Quad and ASEAN.
He also talked about transnational challenges like the climate change, and challenges to a free and open regional order in the Indo-Pacific Region, and how cooperation among like-minded countries is imperative to securing shared vision for the future between the two countries.