• Monday, June 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin to visit India weeks before Modi’s Washington visit; here’s the agenda

Austin will visit New Delhi to meet with Singh and other leaders as the US and India continue to modernise the US-India Major Defense Partnership, the Pentagon said.

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

American defence secretary Lloyd Austin will visit New Delhi next week to meet his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, the Pentagon has announced.

The visit will take place weeks ahead of prime minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to White House on June 22 when president Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host him over an official dinner.

Austin will visit New Delhi to meet with Singh and other leaders as the US and India continue to modernise the US-India Major Defense Partnership, the Pentagon said on Thursday (25), announcing the defense secretary’s trip to Japan, Singapore, India and France next week.

“This visit provides an opportunity to accelerate new defense innovation and industrial cooperation initiatives and drive ongoing efforts to expand operational cooperation between the US and Indian militaries,” the Pentagon said.

Austin will begin his trip from Japan, as part of his seventh official visit to the Indo-Pacific region. In Tokyo, he plans to meet with his Japanese counterpart Yasukasu Hamada and other senior leaders and also visit the US troops stationed in that country, it said.

The visit also comes as the USand Japan take important strides to modernise alliance capabilities, optimise US force posture, and build links with like-minded partners following the historic US-Japan “2+2” ministerial meeting earlier this year, the Pentagon said.

From there, Austin will travel to Singapore where he will deliver plenary remarks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 20th Shangri-La Dialogue.

On the margins of the dialogue, the secretary will meet with key leaders to advance US defense partnerships across the region in support of the shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, anchored in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) centrality.

After Singapore, Austin will visit New Delhi and then conclude his trip in France to participate in events commemorating the 79th anniversary of D-Day, and meet with French and British defence leaders, it added.

(With PTI inputs)

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