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Austin to Meet With India's Minister of External Affairs

May 26, 2021 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will meet May 28 with India's Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as part of India's first cabinet-level visit to Washington, D.C., Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told media in a press briefing this afternoon.

"The secretary's meeting with the external affairs minister will continue discussions that the two held in New Delhi in March and will continue the robust bilateral defense and security relationship between our two countries," the press secretary said. "We're looking forward to having him here at the Pentagon and hosting him for a good set of talks, Friday."

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Memorandum of Understanding

Kirby also emphasized that Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks has signed a memorandum of understanding with Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm to continue the two agencies' partnership to defeat COVID-19 and to prepare for public health emergencies in the future.

"Through the defense assisted acquisition cell, the department will continue to support HHS and expand domestic production of medical supplies," the press secretary said. "Additionally, the MOU will help bolster the Strategic National Stockpile and accelerate development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics." The SNS' role is to supplement state and local medical supplies and equipment during public health emergencies.

A man stands at a lectern while briefing seated  reporters.
Pentagon Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 26, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 210526-D-XI929-2007

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DOD has executed more than $26 billion on behalf of HHS to meet the needs of the nation. And in accordance with Austin's priorities, DOD will continue to act boldly to support interagency efforts to defeat COVID-19. The MOU reinforces DOD support to HHS in furthering that mission, and strengthens the partnership between agencies, according to a DOD news release.