US Defense Secretary Initiates New Era In Us-India Ties

By siliconindia   |   Monday, 15 April 2024, 22:36 IST
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US Defense Secretary Initiates New Era In Us-India Ties

Austin and Aquilino's testimonies highlight the deepening strategic partnership between the US and India. This partnership is focused on Indo-Pacific security, emphasizing joint exercises and defense cooperation for regional stability.

The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized the significance of strengthening the capabilities of the Indian military to foster a more stable balance of power across the Indo-Pacific region. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on the Department of Defense's annual budget, Austin highlighted the collaborative efforts between the US and India to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

Austin stressed the significance of bolstering the Indian military's capabilities to achieve a more stable balance of power in the broader Indo-Pacific theater. He underscored the initiation of a new phase in US-India relations through the Major Defense Partnership, signaling a commitment to deepen defense cooperation between the two nations.

In addition to his testimony before the Senate committee, Austin reiterated the focus on maritime security during a separate Congressional hearing on the Indo-Pacific. Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, echoed Austin's sentiments, emphasizing the critical role of a robust US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Aquilino highlighted the INDUS-X initiative launched to enhance bilateral defense industrial cooperation between the US and India. He cited the roadmap for US-India Defense Industrial Cooperation as a milestone achievement, exemplified by the proposed deal between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the domestic production of F-414 jet engines in India.

Aquilino emphasized the pursuit of unprecedented levels of interoperability between the US and India across various domains. In the air domain, efforts include the participation of US B-1B bombers in India's AERO INDIA air show and bilateral air exercise COPE INDIA. This expanded cooperation aims to strengthen strategic ties and enhance mutual capabilities in air operations.

Moreover, Aquilino emphasized the importance of deepening cooperation under the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) to facilitate more regular and flexible engagements in the Indian Ocean region. He noted the signing of two new Master Ship Repair Agreements, enabling the US Navy vessels to undergo maintenance and repair in Indian shipyards, thus enhancing interoperability and logistical support capabilities.

Secretary Austin's and Admiral Aquilino's testimonies underscored the growing strategic partnership between the US and India and their shared commitment to advancing mutual interests in the Indo-Pacific region. Both countries seek to bolster regional security and uphold a rules-based international order through enhanced defense cooperation, joint exercises, and interoperability initiatives.