Rajnath Singh, US counterpart review military-to-military arrangements
New Delhi, Apr 12: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday held bilateral talks with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation and the regional security situation, including in the Indo-Pacific and the broader Indian Ocean Region.
Singh along with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is in Washington to attend the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Monday - the first under the Biden administration being hosted by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Austin.
Singh, along with Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and a high-level delegation, held the meeting with US Secretary of Defence Austin who was accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior officials in Pentagon, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement in New Delhi.
"The two Defence Ministers reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation and the regional security situation.
"Both ministers acknowledged the salience of India-US defence partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and broader Indian Ocean Region," it said, according to news agency PTI.
They discussed ways to deepen Major Defence Partnership (MDP) and to work together to advance quality and scope in bilateral defence cooperation, according to the statement.
They also reviewed military-to-military engagements, information sharing, enhanced logistics cooperation, and ability of the Armed Forces to cooperate closely under compatible communication arrangements. In this context, closer cooperation of Special Operation Forces came up prominently.
The two ministers also discussed ways for closer collaboration between Defence Industries.
Singh underlined the need of co-development, co-production between India and US companies and invited US companies to India for manufacturing and maintenance of defence equipment, the statement added.
Earlier, on his arrival at the Department of Defence, Singh was accorded an "enhanced honour cordon".
Following the enhanced honour cordon on the steps of the Pentagon at its historic River Side entrance, Austin and Singh walked inside the building for the talks where the two leaders discussed bilateral defence engagement, trade, Indo-Pacific and the global situation in the backdrop of the Ukrainian conflict.
The enhanced honour is reserved for valued guests and visitors. During normal honour cordon, visitors are greeted at the Pentagon stairs and welcomed with handshakes, before proceeding inside the building. During the enhanced honour cordon, national anthems are played.
On Sunday, Defence Minister Singh met senior executives of American aerospace and defence majors Boeing and Raytheon and asked them to take advantage of policy initiatives in India to steadily march from 'Make in India' towards 'Make for the World'.