Committed to our strategic partnership, says PM Modi after meeting with US defence secretary Lloyd Austin
New Delhi, Mar 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met visiting US defence secretary Lloyd Austin. According to reports, Lloyd is on a three-day visit to India, the first by a senior minister under Joe Biden's presidency, to further boost bilateral defence and security ties amid China's growing military assertiveness in the the Indo-Pacific region.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, "Pleasure to meet U.S. @SecDef Lloyd Austin today. Conveyed my best wishes to @POTUS @JoeBiden. India and US are committed to our strategic partnership that is a force for global good."
According to reports, Austin is on a trip to Asian countries to boost military cooperation with American allies and foster "credible deterrence" against China, he had earlier said.
"Prime Minister outlined his vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries and emphasized the important role of bilateral defence cooperation in India-US ties. He requested Secretary Austin to convey his best wishes to President Biden," PMO said in a statement.
During the meeting, Austin reiterated the US government's continued commitment towards strengthening the bilateral defence relations between the two countries, the statement added. The US secretary also expressed "US' strong desire to further enhance the strategic partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond".
During Austin's visit, the two sides will discuss India's plan to purchase armed drones from the US as well as a large order for over 150 combat jets for the air force and the navy to help narrow the gap with China.