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India-US Defence Talks: Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin Forge Strategic Alliances

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In a significant diplomatic development, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh hosted a bilateral meeting with the US Secretary of Defence Mr Lloyd Austin in New Delhi on November 10, 2023. The discussions encompassed a wide spectrum of defence and strategic issues, with a notable emphasis on fostering collaborative efforts in defence-industrial cooperation.

Advancing Defence Industrial Cooperation: The crux of the talks revolved around fortifying defence industrial cooperation between India and the United States. The ministers placed a specific focus on encouraging joint development and production of defence systems, signalling a commitment to strengthening ties in the realm of defence technology and strategic collaboration.

Exploring Joint Research Initiatives: Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin delved into the possibilities of advancing defence technology cooperation through joint research in critical areas. This exploration underscores the commitment of both nations to leverage their technological capabilities for mutual benefit and progress in defence capabilities.

Reviewing Progress of INDUS-X: The discussions included a comprehensive review of the progress of the India-US Defence Industrial Ecosystem, INDUS-X. Launched in June of the same year, INDUS-X aims to expand the strategic technology partnership and foster defence industrial cooperation among the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of India and the United States.

India’s Elevation in Combined Maritime Forces: A noteworthy highlight was Secretary Austin’s welcome for India’s decision to attain full membership in the Combined Maritime Forces, a multilateral construct headquartered in Bahrain. This elevation underscores the collaborative approach both nations are taking in addressing maritime security challenges.

Symbolic Handover of WWII-era Items: Adding a symbolic touch to the meeting, Raksha Mantri symbolically handed over recovered items from Assam to Secretary Austin. These artefacts, including parts of parachutes, uniforms, and aeroplanes from the World War II era, serve as poignant reminders of historical ties and collaborative efforts in the defence realm.

Agenda for Future Collaborations: The meeting concluded with both ministers drawing up an agenda for future joint work. This collaborative approach underscores the commitment of India and the United States to continued engagement and shared progress in the field of defence and strategic cooperation.

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