Against the backdrop of aggressive posturing by China on maritime issues, the defence ministers of India and the US today expressed their commitment towards an inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific with freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded trade.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in Siem Reap, Cambodia on the margins of the 9th ASEAN defence ministers’ (ADMM) Plus meeting.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the growing bilateral defence engagements while discussing further initiatives that can be taken to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two countries, including in maritime domain awareness. Both leaders also shared their perspectives on the regional security situation.
The two defence ministers discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest while expressing their commitment to strong India-US defence cooperation.
Rajnath emphasised the need for both countries to work together for capability building in critical domains such as military aviation, artificial intelligence and cyber technology.
He said he looked forward to building a roadmap towards greater defence industrial collaboration between India and US. He highlighted India’s growing expertise in aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and ship-building, repairs and refits and suggested specific areas where US defence companies can look for technology cooperation and manufacturing opportunities with Indian partners in India. Secretary Austin welcomed the suggestions and assured Rajnath of cooperation in this regard.