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US Defence Secy Llyod Austin Meets NSA Ajit Doval

US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

US Defence Secretary Llyod Austin with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

He is set to meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday for extensive talks.

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd James Austin III, who arrived in New Delhi for a three-day visit to India earlier on Friday, met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Austin had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well. He is set to meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday for extensive talks.

During their meeting, Modi “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”. The PMO said Modi also outlined his vision for the strategic partnership between the India and US, and emphasised the important role of bilateral defence cooperation.

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Austin said the US government was committed to strengthening the bilateral defence relations between the two countries, and expressed US’s strong desire to further enhance the strategic partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, said the release.

Meanwhile, Singh extended his welcome to Austin. “Mr. Austin. Your visit to India is definitely going to further deepen the cooperation and partnership between India and the United States. Looking forward to our meeting tomorrow,” he said on Twitter.

India is the third stop for Austin during his three-nation first overseas tour as the Defence Secretary, and the visit is seen as a reflection of the Joe Biden administration’s strong commitment to its relations with its close allies and partners in the region. The US defence secretary visited Japan and South Korea before India.

The US official was received at the Palam airport by senior Indian military officials and diplomats from the American embassy. Ways to further accelerate India-US strategic ties, boosting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, China’s aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh, challenge of terrorism and the Afghan peace process are expected to be focus of the talks between the two sides, people familiar with Austin’s visit said.

With PTI inputs.
first published:March 19, 2021, 22:28 IST