India and the US have reached one step forward in strengthening their relations, as US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin completed his diplomatic visit to India on Monday. Both the countries have discussed their defence partnership.
During the discussions, innovation in defence had been a very important point, according to the US Department of Defence. Lloyd Austin along with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks on issues pertaining to regional security. This issue, including Indo-Pacific region, has been a US shared vision, for making the region free and open. Both India and the US have committed to collaborating on this issue.
To ensure the stability of arms and equipment supply, Austin and Singh agreed to start discussions on two important agreements pertaining to the Security of Supply Arrangement and a Reciprocal Defence Procurement. The two leaders vowed to explore regulatory barriers preventing closer industry-to-industry cooperation, according to the Pentagon.
The two sides also decided on a definite direction for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation, which “shall guide the policy direction for the next few years,” said the Indian Defence Ministry in a statement.
The plan for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation will speed up technology cooperation and co-production related to air combat and land mobility systems; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; munitions; and the undersea domain.
Statement readout by the Indian Department of Defence said, “This initiative aims to change the paradigm for cooperation between US and Indian defence sectors, including a set of specific proposals that could provide India access to cutting-edge technologies and support India’s defence modernization plans.”
The US Defence Secretary arrived in New Delhi for a two-day visit to India on Sunday. His official purpose in India was to strengthen defence partnership and cooperation in areas mutually crucial for both countries. Austin’s visit has been strategic from the point of view that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit US at the end of June.