India, US discuss ways to enhance defence cooperation

by IANS |

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin held bilateral talks here during which they discussed ways to enhance defence cooperation in several areas, including "convergence of strategic interests and enhanced security cooperation".

In a tweet after the meeting, the Union Minister said: "Delighted to meet my friend, Secretary Austin in New Delhi. Our talks revolved around enhancing defence cooperation in several areas including convergence of strategic interests and enhanced security cooperation."

A statement issued by the Defence Ministr described the as "warm and cordial".

The Ministry said Rajnath Singh and Secretary Austin explored ways of building resilient supply chains.

"Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems of the two countries. Towards these objectives, they concluded a roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years," said the official statement.

They also reviewed the robust and multifaceted bilateral defence cooperation activities and agreed to maintain the momentum of engagement, the Ministry statement said.

India and and the US further welcomed the inaugural dialogues held recently focusing on Defence Artificial Intelligence and Defence Space.

They also discussed the regional security issues given their shared interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

On his part, Secretary Austin tweeted: "Great to meet again with my friend Rajnath Singh and thank him for his unwavering commitment to US-India defense relations.

"His leadership has helped paved the way for deeper collaboration, joint exercises, and technology sharing between our two countries."

Senior officials from Ministry, including Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr Samir V Kamat, participated in the meeting.

The delegation-level talks were preceded by a Tri-Service Guard of Honour to Secretary Austin.

The US Secretary of Defence arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a two-day visit.

This is the his second visit to India, the previous one being in March 2021.

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