The two leaders met amid what Austin described as a “transformative period in U.S.-India relations” as the two countries expand their defense industrial cooperation and enhance interoperability between their militaries.
Following the daylong discussions, which also included meetings alongside Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, Austin announced further steps the two countries will be taking to deepen ties.
Those steps include a new agreement to move forward with the co-production of armored infantry vehicles, the leaders announced, building upon progress highlighted this summer when the two countries announced they would partner in producing jet engines.
The two countries also discussed steps to strengthen supply chain security and integrate the distribution of goods from U.S. and Indian firms, Austin said following today’s talks.
“From working together in space, to harnessing cutting edge innovation, the U.S. and Indian cooperation is stronger than ever,” he said. “This is my third visit to India as secretary of defense, and every time we’ve taken new steps to advance our defense partnership with India.”
At the core of that progress, is both countries’ commitment to innovation and enhancing interoperability.
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.
Earlier this week, ahead of Austin’s visit, officials from the U.S. Defense Department and Indian Defense Ministry met in New Delhi to participate 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.
DIU and iDEX also 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.
The event builds upon recent collaboration between the two innovation groups on joint challenges that enable start-ups from both countries to develop technological solutions for shared defense challenges. The challenges culminate in financial awards and potential procurement opportunities for the most promising technology.
Austin also noted steps between the two countries to increase interoperability between the U.S. and India’s militaries.
He said the U.S. is standing up new liaison positions at key commands to streamline communication. He also noted the two countries have participated in increasingly complex combined exercises that promote the sharing of best practices and strengthen the readiness of both forces to meet a variety of challenges.
“It’s no secret that we all face a challenging global security environment. That’s more reason why the progress in our partnership with India is so important, and why the United States is committed to making it even stronger,” Austin said. “That’s what today’s meeting was all about and I’m confident that we’re going to have many more important conversations ahead with our Indian partners.”
Source : defense.gov