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Singh, Austin take stock of maritime security ops in Indo-Pacific

Top officials reaffirm shared commitment to strengthening partnership in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific

Singh, Austin take stock of maritime security ops in Indo-Pacific
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke this week with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin to discuss growing momentum in the defense bilateral partnership in “support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

The discussions came amid the ongoing tension in the Red Sea as the Houthis in Yemen continue to target merchant vessels linked to Israel over its war in Gaza. US Navy ships patrolling the region have also come under Houthi missiles and drones.

Singh and Austin, who last met in New Delhi in November 2023 for the India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue, took stock of bilateral defense initiatives following the meeting.

Both officials acknowledged US support for India’s military modernization, and discussed the initiatives on the US-India Roadmap for Defense Industrial Cooperation, strengthening maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean, and India’s support for the rule of law in the Arabian Sea and adjacent waterways, Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder said.

India and the US held their second defense acceleration ecosystem (INDUS-X) summit in New Delhi last month.
Rajnath also discussed with Austin the bilateral Tri-Service exercise ‘Tiger Triumph’, which commenced in India on 18 March, a defence ministry statement said.

Austin appreciated the role the Indian Navy is playing in keeping pirates at bay in the Indian Ocean. Other defense industrial cooperation issues such as repair of US naval ships in Indian shipyards were also briefly discussed during the call.

Reaffirming their shared commitment to strengthening the major defense partnership in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, they expressed hope that they would have an opportunity to meet again in person soon.

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