External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon during which they discussed shared priorities and exchanged views on a range of regional security challenges, the Department of Defense said. Jaishankar, who is on an official trip to the US, is the first Indian Cabinet minister to visit the country since Joe Biden became US president on January 20.
“I had a terrific meeting with @DrSJaishankar today. He graciously hosted me in India in March, and I was delighted to return his hospitality. The @deptofdefense is deeply committed to strengthening our partnership w/ India as we work together to uphold a #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific," Austin tweeted after the meeting. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Austin and Jaishankar discussed shared priorities in the US-India strategic partnership and exchanged views on a range of regional security challenges.
Austin and Jaishankar reaffirmed their commitment to sustaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region and strengthening the US-India Major Defense Partnership, he said in a readout of the meeting. Kirby said the leaders also discussed opportunities to deepen coordination amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Secretary Austin conveyed that he looks forward to hosting Minister Jaishankar and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year, the Pentagon press secretary added.