“Pleasure to meet U.S. @SecDef Lloyd Austin today. Conveyed my best wishes to @POTUS @JoeBiden . India and US are committed to our strategic partnership that is a force for global good.Lloyd James Austin III on Friday commended India’s leadership role in the Indo-Pacific region and growing engagement with like-minded partners across the region to promote shared goals'” PM Modi tweeted after his meeting with visiting US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. Austin III, who is on an official visit to India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the national capital on Friday after he arrived..
“Both sides exchanged perspectives on shared challenges confronting the region and committed to further strengthen their broad-ranging and robust defence cooperation,” the US Embassy statement said. Austin expressed America’s strong desire to further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Austin visited Japan and South Korea before India. Austin’s visit is seen as a reflection of the Joe Biden administration’s strong commitment to ties with its close Asian allies and partners.
PM Modi outlined his vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries and emphasised the important role of bilateral defence cooperation in the India-US ties. The US defence Secretary also held wide-ranging discussions with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and almost all key issues of mutual concerns, including China’s aggressive behaviour in the region are learnt to have figured in the deliberations. Welcoming Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said his visit to India is definitely going to further deepen the cooperation and partnership between two countries. Ways to further accelerate India-US strategic ties, boosting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, China’s aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh, challenge of terrorism and the Afghan peace process are expected to be focus of the talks between Austin and Singh, people familiar with the US official’s visit said.
U.S. defense officials are grappling with one major thorn in the side of the relationship: India is still doing business with Washington’s adversaries, notably by inking a $5.5 billion deal for the Russian S-400 air defense system. U.S. lawmakers and officials warn that the future delivery of the weapon systems could put New Delhi at risk of American sanctions and put a ceiling on how far the relationship can go.