Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. Lloyd is on a three-day visit to India, the first by a top official from US President Joe Biden's administration. His visit is aimed at further boosting bilateral defence and security ties in the wake of China's growing military assertiveness in the region including in the Indo-Pacific.
"Pleasure to meet U.S. @SecDef Lloyd Austin today. Conveyed my best wishes to @POTUS @JoeBiden. India and US are committed to our strategic partnership that is a force for global good," PM Modi tweeted.
PM Modi "outlined his vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries and emphasized the important role of bilateral defence cooperation in India-US ties. He requested Secretary Austin to convey his best wishes to President Biden," said a statement from the PMO.
Meanwhile, Austin reiterated the U.S. Government’s continued commitment towards strengthening the bilateral defence relations between the two countries. "He expressed US’s strong desire to further enhance the strategic partnership for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," the statement added.
Earlier, Austin tweeted a video and said he was thrilled to be in India. "The breadth of cooperation between our two nations reflects the significance of our major defense partnership, as we work together to address the most pressing challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region," he tweeted.
India is the third stop for Austin during his three-nation first overseas tour as the Defence Secretary, and the visit is seen as a reflection of the Joe Biden administration's strong commitment to its relations with its close allies and partners in the region. The US defence secretary visited Japan and South Korea before India.