The US is believed to have promised India access to better capabilities and technologies to counter China’s threats and growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
The development seems to be the outcome of the meeting between US Secretary of defense Lloyd Austin and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Friday (March 19).
Lloyd had arrived in India on Friday evening as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to form an alliance with friendly Asian countries to counter Beijing’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
Soon after his arrival, Austin met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Doval. As per reports, Austin and Doval had a two-hour-long meeting, during which they exchanged notes on the security environment in Asia and other issues.
Great meeting with National Security Advisor Doval last night. The breadth of collaboration between our two nations reflects the significance of our Major Defense Partnership as we work together to address the most pressing challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region. pic.twitter.com/DoMZiJDiF1
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) March 20, 2021
Following the meeting, Lloyd took to Twitter to express the significance of India and the US’ defense relationship.
“Great meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval last night,” Austin tweeted on Saturday morning,
“The breadth of collaboration between our two nations reflects the significance of our major defense partnership as we work together to address the most pressing challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.”
According to a former Indian diplomat quoted by the daily, it is in America’s interest that there is a favorable balance of power in Asia in the face of a militarily assertive China.
Washington needs to join hands with countries like India whose territorial integrity is being challenged by Beijing.
Reports suggest Austin’s meeting with Modi and Doval will lay a strong foundation between the US and India to enforce international law in the Indo-Pacific through bilateral means as well as through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).
Had an excellent meeting in New Delhi today with my US counterpart, @SecDef Mr. Lloyd J. Austin on ways to strengthen India-US defence partnership.
The India-US partnership in the field of Defence has acquired the dimensions of strategic partnership in the last decade. pic.twitter.com/W0rtna63D1
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 20, 2021
It is said the US will also provide the necessary capabilities and technologies needed to enforce the rule of international law in the Indo-Pacific region. The top US defense official held a separate meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday (March 20).
Singh and his US counterpart discussed several issues “with a focus on enhancing defense information sharing, cooperation in emerging domains of defense, mutual logistics support, and expanding military-to-military engagements across services,” the minister added.
Both sides agreed on increased cooperation between the Indian military and the US Indo-Pacific, Central and Africa Commands. The Indian minister said that both sides agreed there were opportunities for partnership in the defense industry and added that the recent and first Leaders’ Summit of India, US, Japan and Australia emphasized the resolve to maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
“Today we reaffirmed that closer India-US cooperation in partnership with countries keen to uphold rules-based order, can promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” the minister said.
Austin echoed his counterpart’s words on strengthening ties. The US defense secretary said his visit aimed to bring forth the Biden-Harris administration’s message about America’s commitment to its allies and partners said The Hindustan Times.