New Delhi: India and US discussed the security challenges and threats posed by China during the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on Friday.
“We did discuss the security challenges and the threat posed by China during the meeting but we did not spend our entire dialogue on that matter,” said US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin after the 2+2 dialogue.
Austin further highlighted the relationship between the world’s largest democracies, the United States and India and said that the relationship between New Delhi and Washington is not just about Beijing; instead, it is based on shared values and democracy.
“Our relationship is not just about the People’s Republic of China and is based on many things. It is based on shared values and democracy. We are cooperating in undersea and space technologies,” he added.
Speaking on the MQ-9B drones, Secretary Austin further said that the US is doing everything so that India acquires these drones.
“In terms of MQ-9B drones, I have no new announcement to make today. We will announce that at the right time. We are doing everything so that India gets this capability. But we are going to co-produce an armoured vehicle,” he said.
He also said that although cyber security was not specifically discussed in this meeting, the issue is of importance for the militaries of both countries.
When asked about the attacks on American bases in the Middle East, Austin said, “The safety of our people is our priority. We cannot predict or project when we are going to strike. We will do this at a time of our choosing. Attacks on our targets and people must stop.”
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US in June this year, an agreement was made about India procuring Predator drones made by General Atomics.
The MQ-9Bs, assembled in India, will enhance the ISR capabilities of India’s armed forces across domains. As part of this plan, General Atomics will also establish a Comprehensive Global MRO facility in India, according to the US-India joint statement.
The fifth round of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue was held on Friday in the national capital.
It was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with their US counterparts, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
During the bilateral meeting with his counterpart Rajnath Singh, Austin said the India-US Defence partnership has made tremendous forward strides in the past year, including the US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation Roadmap.
The US Secretary of Defence also noted that India and Washington have over the past year made “impressive gains” in building a defence partnership.
He called it “important” that India and US exchange views, find common goals and deliver for the people of the two nations in the face of the urgent global challenges.