Defence Minister Rajnath Singh holds conversation with US counterpart in Jakarta

NewsDrum Desk
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Lloyd Austin rajnath singh.jpg

Rajnath Singh (Left) with Lloyd Austin (Right)

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a brief conversation with his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in Jakarta on Thursday, focusing on the India-US strategic ties and ways to strengthen the common efforts towards a more secure world.

In the interaction that took place on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Singh and Austin discussed how India and the United States could contribute together to ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific region, officials said.

Ten-nation regional grouping ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a major stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform comprising the 10-nation ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners -- India, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the US.

Indonesia is hosting the meeting as the current chair of the ADMM-Plus.

The Singh-Austin conversation came less than a week after the two ministers held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi that centred around an ambitious agenda to deepen the India-US bilateral strategic ties in the face of China's increasing military assertiveness.

Indian officials said both leaders used the opportunity in Jakarta to quickly review the "tremendous progress" achieved in the India-US defence partnership in recent years.

They discussed how the two countries could contribute together to ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific and to advance "peace, prosperity and security".

Singh and Austin also discussed ways to expand the India-US partnership to address emerging challenges and further strengthen the common efforts towards a more secure world, the officials said.

The two leaders met in New Delhi on November 10 and resolved to advance the defence technology cooperation with joint research in emerging areas.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Austin travelled to India last week to attend the fifth edition of the "2+2" ministerial dialogue with their Indian counterparts.

Ways to expand the cooperation between India and the US figured in the "2+2" dialogue as well.

There have been growing global concerns over China's military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.