India and the US focused on expanding their military engagement during a meeting today between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the US Secretary of Defence, General Lloyd Austin, a joint statement said today. The talks included wide-ranging defence cooperation, information-sharing in emerging areas, and mutual logistical support, the statement said.
“We focused on expanding military-to-military engagement…” Mr Singh said reading out the statement, and expressing happiness over the “comprehensive and fruitful talks” with Secretary Austin and his delegation. “We’re determined to realise the full potential of comprehensive global strategic partnership,” he said adding that he had invited the US defence industry to take advantage of India’s liberalised FDI policies in the sector.
The two sides reviewed many bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed on increased cooperation between the Indian military, the US Indo-Pacific, Central, and Africa Commands. The joint statement said that the talks focused on steps to implement bilateral defence pacts such as Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
BECA will provide India real-time access to American geospatial intelligence. LEMOA is an India-specific version of a deal the US has with several countries close to it in military terms. COMCASA allows India to procure equipment for encrypted communications for US-made weapons systems. Together, the three are the foundational agreements the US signs with other countries close to it.
India is the third destination of Mr Austin’s three-nation tour, the first since the Joe Biden administration took charge earlier this year. The visit is seen as a reflection of the new regime’s strong commitment to its relations with allies and partners in the region. The US Defence Secretary called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval hours after his arrival in Delhi on Friday.