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Rajnath Singh, Lloyd Austin conclude roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation
New Delhi: India and US on Monday concluded a roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation which will identify opportunities for the co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems as well as facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems of the two countries.
The roadmap, which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years, was concluded during a bilateral meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. The US Secretary of Defence visit comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US later this month.
"The two Ministers explored ways of building resilient supply chains. Both sides will identify opportunities for co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems and facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems of the two countries. Towards these objectives, they concluded a roadmap for US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation which shall guide the policy direction for the next few years," a Defence Ministry statement said.
"The two sides discussed a substantial range of bilateral defence cooperation issues, with particular focus on identifying ways to strengthen industrial cooperation," it said
Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin reviewed the "robust and multifaceted" bilateral defence cooperation activities and agreed to maintain the momentum of engagement.
After the meeting, Rajnath Singh said on Twitter that the talks revolved around enhancing defence cooperation in several areas including convergence of strategic interests and enhanced security cooperation.
"India-US partnership is critical for ensuring a free, open and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region. We look forward to closely work with the US across the domains for capacity building and further consolidating our strategic partnership," Singh tweeted.
The two leaders welcomed the inaugural talks held recently focusing on defence artificial intelligence and defence space. Singh and Austin discussed the regional security issues considering their shared interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, including Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr Samir V Kamat.
Earlier today, Austin who arrived in Delhi on Sunday from Singapore inspected a Tri-Services Guard of Honour in the presence of the Defence Minister at the Manekshaw Centre in Delhi. This is Austin's second visit to India. Previously, Lloyd Austin visited India in March 2021.
Meanwhile, Lloyd Austin thanked Rajnath Singh for his "unwavering commitment" to defence ties between India and US.
Austin tweeted, "Great to meet again with my friend @rajnathsingh and thank him for his unwavering commitment to US-India defence relations. His leadership has helped paved the way for deeper collaboration, joint exercises, and technology sharing between our two countries."
Previously, on his arrival from Singapore, the US Defence Secretary had tweeted, "I'm returning to India to meet with key leaders for discussions about strengthening our Major Defense Partnership. Together, we're advancing a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific." (ANI)