India has critical role to play in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh at India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue
Washington, Apr 12: India has a critical role to play in the Indian Ocean Region and wider Indo-Pacific following Act East and Neighbourhood First policies said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday at the fourth India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
Speaking at the meeting, he said that India played a pre-eminent role in the Indo-Pacific region. "Major defence partnership is one of the most important pillars of India-US strategic relations. India has critical roles to play in Indian Ocean Region, wider Indo-Pacific following Act East and Neighbourhood First policies," he said.
"India played a pre-eminent role in the region, from Tsunami in 2004 and during COVID-19. We have signed eight different defence-related agreements between our two countries in the last few years, including Space Situational Awareness Agreement for an unclassified domain which is being signed today," the Defence Minister said.
He also said that India-US military engagements increased with higher capability in communication, closer info sharing and enhanced mutual logistics support despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's a reflection of the growing depth and scale of our defence partnership," Rajnath Singh noted. "In a decade, our defence supplies from the US rose from negligible to a cumulative amount of over USD 20 Billion. We look forward to US companies investing in India and supporting the Make in India program," he added.
US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was held on Monday in Washington.
In a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden on Monday said the US and India will continue their consultations in dealing with the destabilising effects of the Russian war against Ukraine and complimented New Delhi's humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people.
In his televised opening remarks, Modi said the recent reports of killings of innocent civilians in Bucha city were very worrying and that India immediately condemned it and demanded a fair investigation.