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US Secretary of Defense Austin visited India during his first foreign trip

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin will visit India from 19 to 21 March and will meet Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders. The dates of the visit were released by the Ministry of Defense. The Secretary, whose visit begins on Saturday, will also visit the US Indo-Pacific Command in Japan and South Korea and Hawaii. The Pentagon said it would strengthen America’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

“Secretary Austin will meet his counterparts and other senior officials to discuss the importance of international defense relations and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to the free and open Indo-Pacific region – establishing respect for international rules, laws and norms did.” The Pentagon said.

“In India, Secretary Austin will call on his counterpart, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and other senior national security leaders to deepen the US-India Major Defense Partnership and cooperate between our countries for an independent, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific.” To discuss further. Western Indian Ocean region, ”the statement said.

The two sides are expected to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation and exchange views on regional security challenges and common interests in maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The defense ministry statement will also focus on how the two countries can consolidate military-to-military cooperation and defense trade and industry cooperation, ”said a defense ministry statement that India was Mr. Austin’s first Being a part of the official visit underscores the strength of the Secretary. US-India strategic partnership.

Also Read: Editorial | India and Biden: On Trump’s Post-Relationship

India and the United States have broadened and deepened their security partnership in both Democrat and Republican administrations. Increasing Chinese assertiveness has also brought them closer in terms of security cooperation.

There are several big ticket defense deals in the pipeline. 30 armed drones from General Atomics, estimated at over $ 3 billion, a proposal of 10 for each service, are in advanced stages of approval by the Ministry of Defense.

Last November, the Navy included two MQ-9BC Guardian unarmed drones purchased from the US on a one-year lease.

India also wants to purchase six additional P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft to add to the 12 already contracted.

India is keen to upgrade defense equipment and buy more weapons, and the US is eager to meet this demand. India was named a major defense partner in 2016 by the Obama administration and during the Trump administration it achieved Strategic Trade Authority Level 1 status – enabling the transfer of sensitive high-tech equipment. The two countries have also signed three founding agreements of the US that enable and facilitate closer defense cooperation and greater interoperability between the two defense systems.

US Secretary of State Antony Blicken will join Mr. Austin along with Japan and South Korea.

“In Japan, Austin will insist on US Secretary of State Department Antony Blinken to host the US-Japan Security Advisory Committee (” 2 + 2 “), Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Sage. The Pentagon statement said that the US-Japan Alliance has never been more assertive and resilient – a cornerstone of peace and security in the free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of long-term competition with China.

In South Korea, the Americans will be hosted by Foreign Minister Chung Yui-yong and Defense Minister Suh Woo. There, they will “reaffirm the United States’ iron-sided commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea, and insist that the USK ROK alliance remains a linchpin of peace, security and prosperity in North-East Asia, an independent and open Indo-Pacific and Worldwide “According to the Pentagon.

The Quad Leaders Summit will be held for the first time on Friday in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga will participate. The White House said on Tuesday that determining the event is another sign that the Indo-Pacific Biden is a high priority for the administration.

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