Pentagon chief Llyod Austin arrives in New Delhi for three-day go to, lauds India-US ‘defence partnership’

Pentagon chief Llyod Austin arrives in New Delhi for three-day go to, lauds India-US ‘defence partnership’

The US defence secretary is on his first official abroad tour. Earlier than India, he visited Japan and South Korea; the go to is being seen as a mirrored image of the Biden govt’s dedication to ties with allies within the area

Pentagon chief Llyod Austin arrives in New Delhi for three-day visit, lauds India-US 'defence partnership'

File picture of retired normal Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of state. By Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool © 2021 The New York Occasions

New Delhi: Starting his three-day India go to, US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin on Friday mentioned the breadth of India-US cooperation mirrored the importance of “main defence partnership” as they work collectively to deal with the “most urgent” challenges going through the Indo-Pacific area.

Austin arrived as a part of his three-nation first abroad tour because the Defence Secretary, and the go to is seen as a mirrored image of the Joe Biden administration’s sturdy dedication to ties with its shut allies and companions within the area. Austin visited Japan and South Korea earlier than India.

Within the night, Austin referred to as on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Thrilled to be right here in India. The breadth of cooperation between our two nations displays the importance of our main protection partnership, as we work collectively to deal with probably the most urgent challenges going through the Indo-Pacific area,” he tweeted.

Welcoming Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh mentioned his go to to India is certainly going to additional deepen the cooperation and partnership between two nations. “Trying ahead to our assembly tomorrow,” Singh tweeted.

The US official was acquired on the Palam airport by senior Indian army officers and diplomats from the American embassy.

Methods to additional speed up India-US strategic ties, boosting cooperation within the Indo-Pacific, China’s aggressive behaviour in japanese Ladakh, problem of terrorism and the Afghan peace course of are anticipated to be focus of the talks between Austin and Singh, officers aware of Austin’s go to mentioned.

They mentioned India’s plan to obtain round 30 multi-mission armed Predator drones from the US for the three companies at an estimated price of over $3 billion can also be anticipated to determine within the talks.

The medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Predator-B drones, manufactured by US defence main Normal Atomics, are able to remaining airborne for round 35 hours and might seek out targets at land and sea, they mentioned.

India’s plan to accumulate 114 fighter jets at a value of round $18 billion might additionally determine within the talks as American defence majors — Boeing and Lockheed-Martin — are eyeing it, they mentioned.

His go to to India got here days after the highest management of the Quad grouping of India, the US, Japan and Australia vowed to develop their cooperation within the Indo-Pacific area.

Forward of Austin’s go to, Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the highly effective Senate Overseas Relations Committee, wrote a letter to the US Defence Secretary, urging him to take up with Indian leaders the difficulty of New Delhi procuring Russian S-400 missile defence system.

Although democracy and human rights points don’t come beneath the area of the Pentagon, Menendez additionally urged Austin to boost these considerations with Indian leaders.

In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion take care of Russia to purchase 5 items of the S-400 air defence missile programs, however a warning from the Trump administration that going forward with the contract could invite US sanctions.

Just lately, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey beneath the Countering America’s Adversaries Via Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for buy of S-400 missiles from Russia.

The evolving state of affairs within the Indo-Pacific area within the wake of China’s growing army muscle flexing has develop into a serious speaking level amongst main world powers. The US has been favouring making Quad a safety structure to examine China’s rising assertiveness.

The go to can also be happening at a time when India and China need to obtain the target of disengagement from all friction factors in japanese Ladakh after finishing withdrawal of troops within the North and South banks of Pangong lake areas.

Austin and Singh had a telephonic dialog on 27 January. The Indo-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the previous couple of years.

In June 2016, the US had designated India a “Main Defence Associate”.

The 2 nations have additionally inked key defence and safety pacts over the previous few years, together with the Logistics Trade Memorandum of Settlement (LEMOA) in 2016 that enables their militaries use one another’s bases for restore and replenishment of provides in addition to supplies for deeper cooperation.

The 2 sides have additionally signed COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Safety Settlement) in 2018 that gives for interoperability between the 2 militaries and supplies on the market of excessive finish know-how from the US to India.

In October final 12 months, India and the US sealed the BECA (Fundamental Trade and Cooperation Settlement) settlement to additional enhance bilateral defence ties.

The pact supplies for sharing of high-end army know-how, logistics and geospatial maps between the 2 nations.

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