India and the United States have announced progress on key defense deals and expressed their commitment to expanding their partnership in the face of geopolitical challenges. This came as top diplomats and senior ministers from both countries met in New Delhi for their annual “2+2 Dialogue” focused on the Indo-Pacific region.
During the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. The two countries, once on opposite sides of the Cold War, are now working on significant deals, including the U.S. supplying and manufacturing engines for Indian fighter jets.
Indian Defense Secretary Giridhar Aramane confirmed that the deal between General Electric’s aerospace unit and India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics is on track. He stated that the necessary commercial arrangements and legal requirements are being finalized.
Additionally, India is in the process of purchasing 31 armed drones made by General Atomics in a deal worth over $3 billion. However, India is waiting for the company to obtain U.S. government clearances for the next steps.
Furthermore, Washington has offered several infantry combat vehicle systems to India, and New Delhi has expressed interest in this offer.
Defense Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of exchanging views and finding common goals between the world’s two largest democracies in the face of urgent global challenges. He highlighted the integration of industrial bases, strengthening of inter-operability, and sharing of cutting-edge technology as key aspects of the India-U.S. partnership.
While India-U.S. relations have grown stronger in recent years, India has also maintained its longstanding relations with Russia and close strategic links with Israel. Additionally, India has strong diplomatic and economic relationships with oil and gas producing countries in the Middle East.
In response to the recent attack by Hamas militants in Israel, India condemned it as a “terrorist attack” while reiterating its support for an independent Palestine. The joint statement issued after the talks called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages in Gaza and expressed support for humanitarian pauses and diplomatic coordination to prevent the conflict from spreading and work towards a political solution and durable peace.
Overall, the meeting between India and the United States highlighted their commitment to deepening their defense partnership and addressing geopolitical challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
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