Chad J. McNeeley, DOD
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III arrived in New Delhi today, kicking off his ninth official visit to the Indo-Pacific.
While in India, Austin will meet with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh as the two countries expand their defense industrial cooperation, enhance interoperability between their militaries and enhance innovation between their defense industrial bases.
Chad J. McNeeley, DOD
The defense leaders will also participate in an expanded dialogue alongside Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar in New Delhi.
Following that meeting, Austin and Blinken will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The visit comes amid significant strides between India and the U.S. in driving defense industrial cooperation and defense technology innovation.
“It has been a momentous and blistering year of U.S.-India engagement beginning with the [U.S.-India initiative on Critical Emerging Technology] dialogue that our national security advisors convened together in January, the secretary’s visit to New Delhi in June, Prime Minister Modi’s visit here to D.C. also in June, and then President Biden’s visit to India in September for the [Group of 20] Summit,” a senior defense official said at the Pentagon earlier this week.
“And I don’t think we’re done,” the official said. “All this to say, there is a lot going on in the U.S.-India defense relationship right now.”
Wheels down in India.
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef)
Over the summer, the U.S. and India released their road map for expanding their defense industrial cooperation and enhancing interoperability through the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem, or INDUS-X.
The road map identified key areas for cooperation between the countries’ defense industrial sectors, including cooperation on technology related to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, undersea domain awareness, air combat and support, munitions systems and mobility.
During Modi’s visit two Washington, the U.S. and India also announced cooperation on critical jet engine technology, widely described by officials as a significant milestone on the countries’ path toward forging their close defense ties.
The countries have also made headway into the innovation ecosystem that will further propel their defense industrial cooperation.
On Wednesday before, officials from the U.S. Defense Department and Indian Defense Ministry participated in the first investor strategy session under the INDUS-X strategic platform.
As part of the session, Defense Innovation Unit Director Douglas A. Beck and Vivek Virmani, chief operating officer for the Indian Defense Ministry’s Innovation for Defense Excellence, or iDEX, joined investors for discussions on harnessing private capital to propel defense innovation.
Also on Wednesday, DIU and iDEX launched the INDIS-X Gurukul Education Series, which will include monthly events where government officials and private sector leaders meet with start-ups from both countries to discuss business and technology development, regulations and investor pitches.
Following his engagements in India, Austin will travel to South Korea and Indonesia to attend a series of engagements further showcasing strong ties between the U.S. and its allies in the region.
While in South Korea, Austin will meet with South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik and other senior leaders as part of the 55th annual Security Consultative Meeting and the United Nations Command’s inaugural meeting of member states’ defense ministers.
The visit will take place as U.S. and South Korea mark the 70th anniversary of their alliance this year.
Following the security meeting, the U.S. and South Korea are expected to release a defense vision statement to further showcase the breadth of their alliance.
In Indonesia, Austin will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministerial Meeting-Plus, which includes representation from China, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in addition to the 10 ASEAN member states and the U.S.
For the first time, Timor Leste will also attend this year’s ADMM-Plus in an observer capacity.
Officials said Austin’s trip throughout the region will further underscore how the U.S. and its regional allies are addressing what pivotal issues in the Indo-Pacific.
“Every stop on this trip will highlight how the department continues to do more than ever alongside its allies and partners to deliver a shared regional vision of peace, stability and prosperity,” a senior official said.