U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit India next week

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. File photo
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will embark on a four-nation trip including India from next week, according to the official statement released by the US Department of Defence. The first stop in his four-nation trip is Tokyo where he will meet with Japanese Defence Minister Yasukasu Hamada and other senior leaders and visit U.S. troops stationed in Japan.

The visit precedes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to White House next month.

According to the statement, Secretary Austin’s visit comes as the United States and Japan take important strides to modernise Alliance capabilities, optimise U.S. force posture, and build links with like-minded partners following the historic US-Japan “2+2” Ministerial meeting earlier this year.

Later on, Mr. Austin will travel to Singapore where he will deliver plenary remarks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 20th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

On the margins of the Dialogue, the Secretary will meet with key leaders to advance US defence partnerships across the region in support of our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, anchored in ASEAN centrality.

After completing his trip to Singapore, Mr. Austin will visit India. At the third stop in New Delhi, he will meet with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and other leaders as the United States and India continue to modernise the US-India Major Defence Partnership.

This visit provides an opportunity to accelerate new defence innovation and industrial cooperation initiatives and drive ongoing efforts to expand operational cooperation between the U.S. and Indian militaries.

Secretary Austin will conclude his trip in France to participate in events commemorating the 79th anniversary of D-Day and meet with French and United Kingdom defence leaders.

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