NEW DELHI (Diya TV) – In New Delhi, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III for the fifth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. This annual diplomatic summit, a cornerstone of U.S.-India relations since 2018, serves as a high-level platform to address common concerns and enhance collaboration.
U.S.-India defense partnership has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, grounded in trust and mutual understanding of the challenges both nations face. Emphasizing the importance of the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring international peace and security, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, through mechanisms like the Quad.
The Defense Partnership Highlights include:
- Co-Production of Armored Infantry Vehicles: A new agreement was announced to move forward with the co-production of armored infantry vehicles, building on the earlier commitment to produce jet engines collaboratively
- Supply Chain Security: Steps were discussed to strengthen supply chain security and integrate the distribution of goods from U.S. and Indian firms, enhancing supply chain resilience.
- INDUS-X Initiatives: The INDUS-X Defense Acceleration Ecosystem, launched in June 2023, demonstrated its success with the first investor strategy session and the launch of the INDUS-X Gurukul Education Series. These initiatives aim to harness private capital for defense innovation and promote collaboration between startups from both countries.
- Interoperability: The U.S. and India are enhancing interoperability through new liaison positions at key commands and increasingly complex combined exercises.
Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement Cooperation:
Both nations unequivocally condemned terrorism and violent extremism, emphasizing concerted action against all terrorists. They called for the 20th Meeting of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and the 5th Designations Dialogue, highlighting the commitment to address security challenges together.
Building Science and Technology Partnerships:
Under the U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), breakthrough advances in semiconductor technology, artificial intelligence, and other critical sectors were applauded. The ministers welcomed the rapid progress in space collaborations and mineral security partnerships.
Health, Trade, and People-to-People Ties:
The fifth U.S.-India Health Dialogue identified areas for future cooperation, including pandemic preparedness and response. Bilateral trade, set to potentially cross $200 billion in 2023, was lauded, and discussions on the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum and Commercial Dialogue were announced.
The dialogue underscored the commitment to people-to-people ties, with initiatives like the pilot program for visa adjudication and the opening of new consulates.
Multilateral Diplomacy and Connectivity:
Reaffirming the importance of a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific, the ministers renewed their commitment to the Quad and discussed shared global challenges in multilateral fora. India’s hosting of the next in-person Quad leaders’ Summit in 2024 was highlighted.
Blinken and Jaishankar also spoke of the ongoing India-Canada conflict, as India remains irate at how Canada has handled Khalistani extremism and Canada wants India to comply with their investigation into Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing, a Canadian citizen originally from Punjab that India deemed a terrorist.