US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is on a two-day visit to discuss ways to expand bilateral strategic engagement ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Monday and both leaders are holding a bilateral meeting for discussions about strengthening the Defense partnership between the two countries. Austin arrived in India on Sunday for a two-day visit to discuss ways to expand bilateral strategic engagement ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington. Prior to the meeting, The United States Secretary of Defence inspected the Tri-Service Guard of Honour in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital.
— ANI (@ANI) June 5, 2023
Austin and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were expected to discuss a number of new defence cooperation projects that will be unveiled after Modi’s meeting with President Joe Biden in Washington two weeks later.
General Electric’s proposal to share fighter jet engine technology with India, as well as India’s plan to purchase 30 MQ-9B armed drones from US defence major General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) for more than USD 3 billion, are likely to be discussed during the talks.
Under the framework of technology transfer, India has been seeking to manufacture jet engines in India to power its fighter aircraft.
China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific and along the Line of Actual Control, as well as ways to combat the threat of terrorism, are likely to be discussed by Singh and Austin.
The Pentagon said this week that Austin will deepen the US-India ‘Major Defence Partnership’ as the two countries’ ties enter a “new and exciting chapter.”
The US Defence Secretary arrived in India from Singapore on Sunday for a two-day visit, according to the defence ministry.
This is Austin’s second visit to India. His last trip to India was in March of 2021.