US Defence Secy Austin likely to visit India

Washington [US]March 7 (ANI): Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to visit India later this month, sources say.

His visit would be the first personal visit to India by a member of President Joe Biden’s administration.

In January, Defense Secretary Rajnath Singh and his counterpart Austin emphasized Washington’s commitment to the Major Defense Partnership with New Delhi. The two heads of state and government also held talks on the two countries’ vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke to Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and during the appeal, Austin stressed the Department’s commitment to the US-India Major Defense Partnership, noting that it is based on shared values ​​and a common interest in ensuring the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open, “said John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary.

The leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) countries – Japan, USA, Australia and India – are planning a conference call in mid-March, Kyodo News reported, citing sources on Friday (local time).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are also expected to speak on the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and efforts to combat climate change.

The US President spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February, in which the White House said leaders would work towards “stronger regional architecture through the quad”. Last month, the four countries’ foreign ministers held an online meeting at which they agreed to work towards a “free and open Indo-Pacific region” while firmly opposed any attempts by Beijing to fix the status quo in the east and east South China Sea to change by force.

China has criticized the framework as an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that seeks to undermine its legitimate rise. (ANI)

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