Defence Ministers and National Security Advisers of India and the US contacted each other and decided to enhance defence and security cooperation during the presidency of Joe Biden.In their first telephonic conversation since Mr Biden assumed charge as the 46th president of the US, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secretary General Lloyd Austin spoke to each other and decided to take defence relations under new heights.
Secretary Austin, who is the first African American to be the defence secretary of US, assured his Indian counterpart that his government’s relationship with India on defence issues will remain strong. Alluding to the Malabar Exercise and the Quadrilateral grouping comprising the US, Japan, Australia and India as members, he also spoke about coming together of regional powers in the Asia-Pacific. Mr Austin also noted “great strides” in bilateral defence ties and pledged to work collaboratively with his counterpart.
The two reiterated the “commitment to the US-India Major Defence Partnership, observing that it is built upon shared values and a common interest in ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open,” said a US statement.These telephonic conversations marked the first formal interaction between the US and India after Joe Biden was sworn in as the President.In his conversation with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval underscored that as leading democracies committed to an open and inclusive world order, India and the US were uniquely positioned to work closely on regional and international issues, including combating the scourge of terrorism, maritime security, cyber security and peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
They also underlined the need to work collectively to address challenges in the post-Covid era and further expand the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.In his congratulatory call to Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed India-US cooperation in containing the coronavirus pandemic, promoting access to affordable vaccines, tackling climate change and cooperating in the Indo-Pacific Region, said India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
(Palak Chhabra contributed inputs to this article)
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