Home/ Politics / News/  US defence secretary Lloyd Austin to visit India in early June

New Delhi: Lloyd Austin, US secretary of defence, is set to visit India next week. America’s top defence official will visit the country during a four-nation tour with visits to Japan, Singapore, and France.

This will be Austin’s seventh official visit to the Indo-Pacific. Secretary Austin’s visit will begin in Tokyo where the general-turned-defence minister will meet Japanese defense minister Yasukazu Hamada among other key officials. Austin will then proceed on to Singapore, where he will speak at the Shangri La Dialogue, hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“After Singapore, secretary Austin will visit New Delhi to meet with defense minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders as the United States and India continue to modernize the U.S.-India Major Defense Partnership. This visit provides an opportunity to accelerate new defense innovation and industrial cooperation initiatives and drive ongoing efforts to expand operational cooperation between the U.S. and Indian militaries," reads a press release by the US Defence Department.

Secretary Austin made his first visit to India in March 2021, shortly after taking office as America’s top defence official. During that visit, he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

"The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to promote a free and open regional order. Both sides exchanged perspectives on shared challenges confronting the region and committed to further strengthen their broad ranging and robust defence cooperation," the two governments said in a statement at the time.

India and the US have seen their defence ties grow steadily in recent years. Both sides have signed a series of foundational agreements making it easier for the two countries to coordinate on equipment, logistics, sensitive communications and geospatial intelligence. America has also become a major supplier of defence equipment to India including transport aircraft, attack helicopters and lightweight artillery. Indian purchases of US defence equipment touched a total of $20 billion in the years since 2008.

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Updated: 26 May 2023, 06:05 PM IST
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