New Delhi: US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a two-day visit to explore ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and the growing Indo-US defence partnership, especially in areas of the transfer of critical technologies for the co-development of military hardware.
"I’m returning to India to meet with key leaders for discussions about strengthening our major defence partnership. Together, we’re advancing a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific," he said after arriving in India for a two-day visit from Singapore.
The US secretary of defence will hold bilateral talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday.
India is keen on finalising an agreement with the US for the manufacturing of jet engines in the country. The transfer of technology from General Electric (GE) to manufacture jet engines is crucial for the indigenous manufacturing of the Light Combat Aircraft in the country.
The US defence secretary's visit comes before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official state visit to the White House next month.
At the bilateral meeting, both ministers are set to discuss a number of new defence cooperation projects that are set to be unveiled after the Prime Minister's talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington later in the month.
The growing Chinese threat, increasing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, implementation of foundational defence agreements, promoting co-development and co-production of military hardware and enhancing military ties will be at the top of the agenda during the bilateral talks.
This is Mr Austin’s second visit to India, the previous one being in March 2021.