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Ties between India and the United States — the world's two largest democracies — including military ties, are growing stronger, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said today.
Austin met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subramanyam Jaishankar in the Pentagon. Earlier, Austin spoke via telephone to Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
"These conversations reinforce a growing depth, breadth and ambition of our partnership," Austin said. "And that partnership is moving from strength to strength."
Military cooperation between the two nations is at an all-time high. Indian and U.S. service members regularly exercise together, and the two governments regularly share information and intelligence, especially in the wake of the geospatial agreement signed between the two governments in 2020. India participates in the American international military education and training program.
"Today, we are positioning the U.S. and Indian militaries to operate and coordinate more closely together than ever," Austin said. "We're taking significant steps to deepen our defense cooperation from stronger information sharing and defense industrial ties to cooperation in emerging defense domains, including through the launch of a new dialogue later this year."
The Indian military is becoming more interoperable with its U.S. partners. India has purchased Apache helicopters, Seahawk helicopters and has expressed interest in other U.S. defense capabilities.
"All this will help ensure that our militaries are ready for future challenges," the secretary said.
The two nations work in a bilateral fashion, but also with other nations. "The United States and India, along with a dozen other Indo-Pacific partners, are pushing to expand our region's prosperity through the Indo-Pacific Economic Dialogue," Austin said. "And through our deepening cooperation with Japan and Australia, we are delivering on the issues that matter most to the region: infrastructure development and maritime security."
Regional security is especially important right now, due to China's increasing bellicosity, especially regarding Taiwan, the secretary said. "In recent months, we have seen the PRC intensify its efforts to challenge the rules-based international order," he said.
In addition, China continues to support Russia — a nation also seeking to overturn the rules-based order — amid its unprovoked and cruel invasion of Ukraine, he said.
India and the United States face sustained challenges to peace, security and prosperity around the world. These challenges "only reaffirm the importance of our partnership," he said.
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