U.S., India Commit to Deepen Strategic Partnership

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin visited India. Both sides pledged to work together to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries.

U.S. Defense Secretary Austin met with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in the Indian capital on Saturday (March 20), where the two sides agreed to strengthen defense cooperation, intelligence sharing and logistical exchanges between the two countries.

It was the first visit to India by a senior Biden administration official. Secretary Austin said the U.S.-India relationship is “a stronghold for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

After the meeting, Secretary Austin said he and Secretary Singh discussed opportunities to enhance cooperation between key U.S. and Indian defense partners and said it is a policy priority for the Biden Administration. He said, “We will do that through regional security cooperation and interaction between the two militaries and defense trade.”

“India in particular is an increasingly important partner in the midst of today’s rapidly changing international dynamics,” Austin said, “and I reaffirm our commitment to a comprehensive forward-looking defense partnership with India that is a central pillar of our approach to the Indo-Pacific region. “

Indian Defense Minister Singh said the talks focused on expanding engagement between the two militaries. He said, “We are determined to realize the full potential of a comprehensive global strategic partnership.” Singh urged U.S. industry to invest in India’s defense industry.

Secretary Austin also met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a tweet after the meeting, Modi said, “India and the U.S. are committed to building our strategic partnership, a force for global good.”

Secretary Austin’s visit to India was preceded by visits to Japan and South Korea.