Saturday, November 26, 2022

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India-ASEAN meet: Rajnath holds bilateral meeting with US defence secretary

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in Siem Reap, Cambodia on the sidelines of 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus meeting.

The two Defence Ministers discussed wide range of issues of mutual interest while expressing their commitment to a strong India-US defence cooperation, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Singh emphasised the need for both countries to work together for capability building in critical domains such as military aviation, artificial intelligence and cyber technology, it added.

The two leaders expressed their commitment towards an inclusive and rules-based Indo Pacific with freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded trade.

“Great meeting with my friend Rajnath Singh at the ADMM-Plus today,” Austin Tweeted.

“We’re continuing to make strides in enhancing our defence cooperation as we advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.

They also discussed initiatives that can be taken to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two countries including in maritime domain awareness, the statement said, adding that both leaders also shared their perspectives on the regional security situation, the statement said.

Singh also looked forward to building a roadmap towards greater defence industrial collaboration between India and US.

As per defence ministry, Singh highlighted India’s growing expertise in aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and ship-building, repairs and refits and suggested specific areas where US defence companies can look for technology cooperation and manufacturing opportunities with Indian partners in India.

Secretary Austin welcomed the suggestions and assured his counterpart of cooperation in this regard.

India and Cambodia are co-chairing the India-ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, being hosted by Cambodia, starting on November 22 to commemorate 30 years of India-ASEAN relations.

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