New US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Building on the momentum of defence ties between the two countries, the newly appointed US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will hold extensive talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during his two-day visit to New Delhi starting March 19. The maiden visit by the US Defence Secretary will come days after heads of state of QUAD countries including the US, India, Australia and Japan will hold virtual talks on Friday. It will be the first time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will hold such a summit.
It comes in the backdrop of China increasingly flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region. The four leaders are likely to discuss this issue besides the ongoing fight against the Corona pandemic. As regards the US Defence Secretary’s visit, his trip is part of a larger plan to visit Indo-Pacific countries and the growing defence and strategic relations between India and the US. The US has increased its presence here by selling weapon systems worth over 15 billion dollars in the region last few years.
Announcing his travel plan, Austin said on Wednesday he will meet his Indian counterpart and other senior national security leaders to discuss deepening the US-India defence partnership and advancing co-operation between our countries.
I’ll then travel to India to meet with my counterpart, Minister of Defense @RajnathSingh, and other senior national security leaders to discuss deepening the U.S.-India Major Defense Partnership and advancing cooperation between our countries. https://t.co/WXPAe3m5cC
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) March 10, 2021
Responding to his tweet, Rajnath said he looked forward to Secretary Austin’s visit thereby indicating strong relations between the two democracies. The two defence ministers had talked on the phone in January. Austin had then emphasized on major defence partnership with India. Both the leaders also insisted on an open and free Indo-Pacific region.
Looking forward to your visit, Secretary Austin. https://t.co/M7ibWkAJ8V
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 10, 2021
Besides visiting India, Austin will also tour Japan and South Korea to interact with senior government leaders there, the US Department of Defence said. He will also visit US Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii.
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