US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to pay 2-day visit to India from Sunday

New Delhi: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will pay a two-day visit to India beginning Sunday to discuss ways to further expand the bilateral strategic engagement ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Washington.

People familiar with Austin’s visit said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the US defence secretary are set to discuss a number of new defence cooperation projects that are set to be unveiled after Modi’s talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington more than two weeks later.

China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region as well as along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and ways to combat the threat of terrorism are likely to figure in the talks between Singh and Austin on Monday, they said.

It will be Austin’s second visit to India. His previous trip to the country was in March 2021.

The ministry said Germany’s Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius will also visit New Delhi for bilateral talks with Singh that will take place on June 6.

A host of bilateral defence cooperation issues, with a focus on industrial cooperation, are likely to be discussed during Singh’s meetings with Austin and Pistorius, it said.