US Defence Secretary Lloyd James Austin III on Friday praised India’s
leadership role in the Indo-Pacific and growing engagement with like-minded
partners across the region to promote mutual goals. Austin III, who is on a
three-day visit to India, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National
Security Advisor Ajit Doval in Delhi.
Following his meeting with NSA Doval, Austin said, “The breadth of
collaboration between our two nations reflects the significance of our major
defence partnership as we work together to address the most pressing
challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.”
According to a statement by the US embassy in India, the two sides reaffirmed
their commitment to promote a free and open regional order. “Both sides
exchanged perspectives on shared challenges confronting the region and
committed to further strengthen their broad-ranging and robust defence
cooperation,” it added.
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
In a statement issued by the PMO, Austin met PM Modi 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. The release said the prime minister welcomed the “warm and close
relationship” between the two countries, which is rooted in shared values of
democracy, pluralism and commitment to a rules-based order.
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. pic.twitter.com/Z1AoGJlzFX
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2021
PM Modi also outlined his vision for the strategic partnership between India
and the US and emphasised the important role of bilateral defence cooperation
in the ties.
The Indo-Pacific region largely comprises the Indian Ocean, the western and
central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. China’s territorial
claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean
seemingly challenge the established rules-based system.