New Delhi [India], March 20 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday reaffirmed India's commitment to the expansion of the "robust" defence partnership with the United States, adding he looks forward to making the India-US partnership one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.
"The recent Leaders' Summit of India, USA, Japan and Australia under the Quad framework emphasised our resolve to maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. We discussed the need for enhanced capacity building to address some of the non-traditional challenges such as oil spills and environmental disasters, drug trafficking, Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) fishing, etc," Singh said while making the joint statement along with US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III.
He added, "India is committed to further consolidate our robust defence partnership with the United States. I look forward to working with you closely to make the India-US relationship one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century."
The Defence Minister said that during the meeting, they also reviewed many bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed for increased cooperation between the Indian military, US Indo-Pacific command, Centre Command and the Africa Command.
"We also plan to optimise the LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA Agreements and achieve their full potential to contribute to our security and prosperity," he said.
Singh said that he had a "comprehensive and fruitful discussion" with Secretary Austin and his delegation. He added that the two are keen to work together to realise the full potential of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Austin on Friday discussed areas of mutual interest, strategic partnership and cooperation on various aspects of security and defence.
Earlier, Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed America's strong desire to further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
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.
Austin, who arrived in the national capital on Friday, is on a three-day official visit to the country. It is the first visit to India by a top official of the Biden administration. (ANI)