During a press conference following a bilateral meeting with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed his concerns about China’s behavior, describing it as a form of bullying and coercion. He stated that China’s actions include attempts to forcefully redraw borders and pose a threat to the sovereignty of nations. Secretary Austin also mentioned the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which similarly aims to change borders by force and undermine national sovereignty. In addition to these geopolitical challenges, he emphasized the significance of collaborative military exercises between India and the United States and acknowledged the existence of transnational issues like terrorism and climate change in the rapidly changing world.
“So democracies must now rally together around not just our common interest, but also our shared values. Preserving and protecting the freedoms that are essential to peace and prosperity will require vigorous leadership from the United States and India. And so we still have a lot of work to do, but I am confident that the US-India Partnership will help to secure an open and prosperous future for the Indo-Pacific and the wider world,” he added.
Austin, who arrived in India a day ago today concluded a roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation with Rajnath Singh.
The roadmap for the next few years will identify opportunities between the two countries for the co-development of new technologies and co-production of existing and new systems as well as facilitate increased collaboration between defence start-up ecosystems.
Just recently in his address at the Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore, Austin had warned that the conflict in Taiwan Strait would be a devastating one, criticising China for its actions in the region. “Our policy is constant and firm. It has held true across U.S. administrations. And we will continue to categorically oppose unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. I’d also highlight that conflict is neither imminent or inevitable. Deterrence is strong today–and it’s our job to keep it that way,” Austin said at the Shangri-La Security Summit in Singapore on Saturday.
“You know, the whole world has a stake in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait–the whole world. The security of commercial shipping lanes and global supply chains depends on it. And so does freedom of navigation world-wide.But make no mistake: conflict in the Taiwan Strait would be devastating,” he said in his remarks ‘A Shared Vision for the Indo-Pacific’ in Singapore.