New Delhi, Nov 10 (EFE).- Foreign and defense ministers from India and the United States strengthened their countries’ defense ties during a high-level meeting in New Delhi on Friday.
“Today’s discussions underscored that in the face of urgent global challenges, it is more important than ever that our two democracies exchange views, work toward common goals, and deliver for our two countries,” US defense minister Lloyd J. Austin said on X, formerly Twitter.
Austin and US Secretary of State Antony and their Indian counterparts Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, met in New Delhi as part of the 2+2 dialogue, an annual high-level ministerial meeting that the two countries initiated in 2018.
Among the issues at the meeting, which was held behind closed doors except for the opening remarks, was how to elevate defense ties between two countries that have increased their ties in recent years, Jaishankar said on X.
These meetings have helped India secure a number of growing number of military technologies, with Washington especially keen to steer the Asian country away from Russia, which has historically been India’s main supplier of military equipment.
“We also exchanged perspectives on the Indo-Pacific, South and West Asia, and the Ukraine conflict,” the Indian foreign minister noted.
One of the key points in relations between the two countries is their opposition to Beijing’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, which Washington sees as the most significant challenge to its foreign policy.
India’s relations with China remain at historic lows since at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in 2020 in a clash with Chinese forces on the disputed Himalayan border – the worst escalation in decades – despite the two countries having held several rounds of military talks.
Jaishankar said that the Quad security alliance, which along with the US and India comprises Australia and Japan, would meet in New Delhi next January.
India and the US have strengthened their bilateral relations in recent years, although they maintain some fundamental differences in foreign policy on certain crucial issues.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra remarked during a press conference after the meeting that the Indian ministers reiterated New Delhi’s historical support for the Palestinian cause amid Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, while condemning the Hamas Oct. 7 attack that sparked the current escalation as “terrorist”. EFE