NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the headquarters of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) at Honolulu in Hawaii on Wednesday.
On his arrival from Washington DC, Singh was received by Commander, US INDOPACOM Admiral John Aquilino.
The USINDOPACOM and Indian military have wide-ranging engagements, including a number of military exercises, training events and exchanges.
Singh was visiting the USINDOPACOM headquarters, Pacific Fleet and the training facilities in Hawaii, before returning to India. He was also expected to lay a wreath at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and visit the Headquarters of the US Army Pacific and Pacific Air Forces, during his brief stay in Hawaii.
On Monday, in Washington DC, US President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
Later, Singh and Jaishankar co-chaired with their US counterparts the 4th India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue on April 11. A joint statement was issued after the dialogue.
Before the 2+2 Dialogue, Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with the US Secretary of Defence separately in the Pentagon.
In a joint statement, Singh said that they had a very meaningful and in-depth discussion which will help in maintaining the momentum of India-US relationship and take the work forward. "Our two great nations have complementary interests and a shared will to achieve mutual goals," he said.
Rajnath Singh said that they had discussions on a range of bilateral, defence and global issues.
He said both India and the US share a common vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. "Our partnership is of critical importance for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region," he said.
During the meeting, Singh shared assessments of the situation in the neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean Region. "The use of terrorism as an instrument of statecraft against India came up prominently," said Singh. He said the extensive engagement has yielded important results. "Some of these include concluding a Space Situational Awareness Agreement between the Department of Space from India and Department of Defence of USA; commencing the defence space and defence Artificial Intelligence dialogues in near future; significant progress on other initiatives and agreements under discussion; and a shared desire to increase the scope and complexity of our military exercises," Singh said. He also stated that India and the US military-to-military engagements have continued in spite of challenges from the Pandemic.
"We are also glad that India has joined the multilateral Combined Maritime Force (CMF) based in Bahrain, as an Associate Partner. This will strengthen cooperation in regional security in the Western Indian Ocean. We are on course in effectively implementing COMCASA, and complete implementation of BECA," he said. The Minister also stated that India and the US have agreed to explore further cooperation in the fields of Defence Cyber, Special Forces and expanding the scope of logistics cooperation under LEMOA and during joint exercises.
Both sides have agreed on the need to revitalise the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) with joint projects on advanced and emerging and critical military technologies, to be executed quickly, Singh said. The Indian Defence Minister shared India's desire to take this partnership towards co-development and co-production with US companies. "We called for increased investments by the US defence companies in India under the 'Make in India' programme. Participation of US entities in Industrial collaboration and partnership in research and development will be critical for the success of India's 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' campaigns," he added. (IANS)
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