India's growing global clout was underlined during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as the world 'sole superpower' was compelled to ask for Indian help in evacuating US soldiers and civilians from Kabul.
Washington: The US Defense Department has revealed that India cooperated with the US during the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the evacuation of US civilians and others after the Taliban took over Kabul and drove out the Afghan government on August 15.
This was disclosed by US defence ministry spokesman John Kirby after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had a phone conversation with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. Austin "thanks to India for its cooperation during the evacuation process in Afghanistan", it said in Monday's phone conversation.
"The two leaders also reiterated their commitment to continue monitoring the situation in Afghanistan," Kirby said.
Their talks come ahead of the QUAD summit convened by US President Joe Biden with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan's Yoshihide Suga and Australia's Scott Morrison.
Unlike some other countries, such as Qatar, which cooperated openly, India has been instrumental in the evacuation of US soldiers and citizens from Afghanistan. The US has evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, including its citizens and permanent residents, as well as others working with American organizations in the war-torn nation and facing threats from the Taliban. None of the flights had come to India.
Rajnath Singh said in the tweet that they discussed bilateral defense cooperation and regional matters including Afghanistan. Kirby said Singh and Austin "reiterated their commitment to ensuring that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open."
Kirby said Austin told Singh that he looked forward to hosting him for the 2+2 talks of the foreign affairs and defense chiefs of the two countries, which are expected to take place later this year. Austin visited India in March and is in constant touch with Rajnath Singh.