New Delhi, Jun 5 (EFE).- United States’ defense secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday met Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh during an official visit to India and concluded a roadmap for bilateral defense industrial cooperation over the next few years.
In a meeting in New Delhi, Austin and Singh “explored ways of building resilient supply chains” and agreed to identify “opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing & new systems,” the Indian defense ministry said in a statement.
“Towards these objectives, they concluded a roadmap for US-India Defense Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years,” it added.
The two sides also reviewed “robust and multifaceted” bilateral activities in defense cooperation and agreed to maintain the momentum of the engagement, along with discussing regional security given “their shared interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” the ministry said.
In a press conference, Austin hailed the Washington-New Delhi partnership as a “cornerstone” for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“Our deepening bonds show how technological immigration and growing military cooperation between the two great powers can be a force for global good,” he said.
The US defense secretary’s India visit is part of a larger US initiative to strengthen ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific to counter China, as tensions between Washington and Beijing have surged over issues such as Taiwan and the South China Sea, where the Chinese are involved in territorial disputes with neighboring countries.
The visit comes ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming tour of the US later this month, which would include a state dinner on Jun. 22, according to a statement issued by the White House last month. EFE