June 5, 2023
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III traveled to India, June 4-5, to reinforce the major defense partnership, and advance cooperation in critical domains ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s official state visit to Washington. The Secretary met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh. During his meetings, the Secretary and his counterparts exchanged perspectives on a range of regional security issues and committed to collaborating closely with India in support of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The Secretary and Minister Singh welcomed the conclusion of a new Roadmap for U.S.-India Defense Industrial Cooperation, which will fast-track technology cooperation and co-production in areas such as air combat and land mobility systems; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; munitions; and the undersea domain. This initiative aims to change the paradigm for cooperation between U.S. and Indian defense sectors, including a set of specific proposals that could provide India access to cutting-edge technologies and support India’s defense modernization plans. The Secretary and Minister Singh also pledged to review regulatory hurdles impeding closer industry-to-industry cooperation and to initiate negotiations on a Security of Supply Arrangement and a Reciprocal Defense Procurement agreement, which will promote long-term supply chain stability.
The Secretary and his counterparts also discussed the growing importance of defense innovation and cooperation in emerging domains such as space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence. They praised the recent launch of a new Advanced Domains Defense Dialogue and committed to expanding the scope of bilateral defense cooperation to encompass all domains. They also welcomed the establishment of the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X), a new initiative to advance cutting-edge technology cooperation. The initiative, which will be launched by the U.S.-India Business Council on June 21, is designed to complement existing government-to-government collaboration by promoting innovative partnerships between U.S. and Indian companies, investors, start-up accelerators, and academic research institutions.
The Secretary and Minister Singh also committed to strengthen operational collaboration across all military services, with an eye to supporting India’s leading role as a security provider in the Indo-Pacific. They discussed new opportunities to strengthen information sharing and increase cooperation in the maritime domain. On this note, Secretary Austin welcomed India’s leadership role in the Quad Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative (IPMDA), which will provide cutting-edge domain awareness capability to countries across the Indo-Pacific region.
In his meeting with National Security Advisor Doval, the Secretary exchanged views about regional and global security issues of concern, including maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. The Secretary welcomed Mr. Doval’s perspective about shared security interests and objectives, including his ideas for greater maritime collaboration.
In all of his engagements, the Secretary underscored the centrality of the U.S.-India partnership to maintaining peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.