US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin meets PM Narendra Modi
New Delhi : The United States Secretary of Defense, General (Retd.) Lloyd J. Austin is on a three day India tour. Lloyd Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of a three-day visit to India. This is the first such outreach by the new U.S. administration less than two months after President Biden assumed office.
PM Modi said in a tweet after the meeting on Friday evening, “India and the U.S. are committed to our strategic partnership that is a force for global good”.
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. pic.twitter.com/Z1AoGJlzFX
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2021
The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, “The Prime Minister welcomed the warm and close relationship between the two countries, which is rooted in shared values of democracy, pluralism and commitment to a rules-based order”.
US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on March 20. Lloyd Austin is expected to discuss Indo-U.S. strategic cooperation, defence sales and technology transfer, as well as Indo-Pacific strategy as a part of the Quad.
In addition, Lloyd Austin is likely to deliver a message on the U.S.’s concerns over India’s plans to take delivery of the Russian S-400 missile defence system later this year, which could attract U.S. sanctions under its CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) law.
US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin’s visit comes a day after acrimonious U.S.-China talks began in Alaska, a week after the Quad summit convened by President Biden that PM Modi attended and right after his own visits to Tokyo and Seoul for strategic talks.
The U.S. Embassy said after Lloyd Austin’s meetings with PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, “Both sides exchanged perspectives on shared challenges confronting the region and committed to further strengthen their broad ranging and robust defence cooperation”.