US secretary of defence, Lloyd Austin, will visit India in early June. A statement issued by the US Defence Department said that Austin will meet Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.The visit to Austin will precede PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in late June.
News agency PTI quoted the US Defence Ministry as saying that Austin will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders during his visit to India.
The visit is considered to be very important in view of the partnership between India and the US to modernize army. Besides India, Austin will also visit Japan, Singapore and France. The Pentagon has said, “The visit will enhance the ongoing defence cooperation between India and the US, and enhance the synergy between innovation and the defence industry by defence cooperation.”
This will be Austin’s second trip to India and his seventh visit to the Indo-Pacific since taking office in January 2021. Austin is travelling to Tokyo and then Singapore, In Tokyo, Austin will meet Japanese Defence Minister Yasukasu Hamada and other senior leaders. Besides, Austin will also meet the American troops present in Japan.
The visit by Austin comes at a time when both the countries are taking major steps to modernize army. After the 2+2 meeting between Japan and the US this year, defence cooperation between the two countries has increased further.
US and China are confronting in the Indo-Pacific. The US is wary of China’s efforts to raise its dominance in the Indo-Pacific. Japan is an important ally for the US and India in countering China’s challenge in the region.
India, America, Australia and Japan have formed a Quad against the alleged aggressive attitude of China in this region.
The secretary’s visit comes in the run-up to PM Narendra Modi’s state visit, where defence cooperation is expected to figure prominently among the outcomes.