India's Rajnath Singh, US defence secy hold delegation-level talks in New Delhi

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 20, 2021, 09:48 AM(IST)

Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin Photograph:( WION )

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Austin, who is on a three-day visit to India, arrived here on Friday. Upon his arrival, he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin held delegation-level talks on Saturday -- and discussed challenges confronting the region, as well as concerns over Chinese aggression.

CDS General Bipin Rawat and the three services chiefs were also present at the meeting.

The Indian defence ministry had earlier said Singh and Austin were "expected to discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and exchange views on regional security challenges and common interests in maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region".

"Discussions regarding defence cooperation would also focus on how both countries could consolidate military-to-military cooperation and defence trade and industry cooperation."

Austin, who is on a three-day visit to India, arrived in Delhi on Friday. He met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday evening.

Also read | US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin arrives in India, meets PM Modi

Following their meeting, Modi tweeted: "Pleasure to meet US @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."

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Austin tweeted that his discussions in India would centre on cooperating to face "most pressing challenges" in the Indo-Pacific region where China`s aggressive actions, from the Himalayas to the South China Sea are on the rise.

He embarked on his Indo-Pacific visits on March 13, a day after the leaders of the Quad nations -- India, Australia, Japan, the US -- virtually met for their first summit.

The leaders decided to work towards an open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

The member countries also pointed out the challenges posed be China in the Indo-Pacific region and how the partnerships can be strengthened to overcome the assertiveness of China.

Before arriving in India, Austin had visited Japan and South Korea.

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