New US defence secretary Lloyd Austin and the Indian defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke on Wednesday, in what is the first official and public contact between the Indian govt and the new Biden administration.
The talks that started around 7.30 pm IST on Wednesday, lasted for around 20 minutes. During the call, which was made from the US side, there was a reaffirmation of the Indo Pacific vision, backed by both Washington and Delhi.
The Indian government readout said, “During the telephonic talk, they reaffirmed their commitment to work together to strengthen the multifaceted India – US defence cooperation and the strategic partnership. Raksha Mantri and Secretary Austin discussed bilateral, regional and global issues.” Rajnath Singh also tweeted about the talks, saying that India reiterated its firm commitment to deepen ties with the US. “Spoke with my US counterpart Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and conveyed my warm wishes on his appointment. We reiterated our firm commitment to deepen India-US defence cooperation. We exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest to strengthen our strategic partnership,” the tweet read.
Spoke with my US counterpart, @SecDef Austin & conveyed my warm wishes on his appointment. We reiterated our firm commitment to deepen India-US defence cooperation. We exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest to strengthen our strategic partnership.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 27, 2021
The fact that the US side reaffirmed its position on Indo Pacific, show no change of sentiment in Washington on the vision. It is given that China remained another focus area of the talks.
The call comes a few days after the US Senate confirmed Austin as the US Defense Secretary. He is the first black defence secretary of US. Austin has so far spoken to his counterparts from Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, UK, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg.
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