Rajnath-Austin Meet: India, U.S. Resolve To Expand Strategic Cooperation

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India and the U.S. on Saturday resolved to further expand their global defence and security cooperation, including military-to-military engagement, information sharing, logistics support as both sides vowed to work for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

After talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the two sides agreed to pursue enhanced cooperation between Indian military and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command and Africa Command.

“I am happy to inform that I had a comprehensive and fruitful discussion with secretary Austin and his delegation. We are keen to work together to realise the full potential of the India-U.S. comprehensive global strategic partnership,” Singh said in his statement to the media.

Referring to Indo-U.S. foundational agreements on defence ties, he said both sides discussed steps to be taken to realise the full potential of pacts such as LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) and BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) for mutual benefit.

Singh also said the recent summit of leaders of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia under the Quad framework emphasised the resolve to maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

In his comments, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the commitment by the U.S. to a comprehensive and forward-looking defence partnership with India as a “central pillar” of its approach to the region.

He also described the India-U.S. relationship as a “stronghold” of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“Singh and I had a very productive discussion…I wanted to convey the Biden-Harris administration’s message about our strong commitment to our allies and partners,” he said.

Austin, who arrived here on Friday as part of his three-nation first overseas tour as the U.S. Defence Secretary, also said India is an increasingly important partner in today’s rapidly changing international dynamics.

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