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News   Defense News

Austin Hosts India's Singh for Pentagon Discussions

April 11, 2022 | BY JIM GARAMONE , DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosted Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh at the Pentagon for talks on the developing defense partnership between the two nations. 

Two men walk up steps outside a building.
Honor Cordon
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosts an honor cordon to welcome Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh for talks at the Pentagon.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220411-D-BN624-0090

Topics of discussion will include the problems posed by China and Russia in the region and around the world. Later, they will move on to the State Department to join Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar for the so-called "two-plus-two" talks.  

"This meeting and upcoming two-plus-two dialogue are indeed important landmarks in our bilateral relationship," Singh said. "I am positive that our visit here shall take India- U.S. comprehensive strategic partnership to the next level." 

"We're meeting at a critical moment in the US-India defense partnership," Austin told Singh at the beginning of their meeting. "And thanks to decades of hard work, we have built the foundation of one of the most important partnerships of this century." 

A large group of people sit at a conference table as two men converse across the table.
Group Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosts Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh for talks at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2022.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220411-D-BN624-0144

India and the United States share the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. This international, rules-based structure has served the region and globe well since its adoption at the end of World War II. At its heart, this system is based on the rule of law and national sovereignty.  

"We're facing urgent and mounting challenges to this shared vision," Austin said. "Across the region, the People's Republic of China is attempting to challenge and undermine the sovereignty of its neighbors." 

The Chinese are constructing dual-use infrastructure along its border with India, and Chinese leaders continue to make unlawful claims in the South China Sea. The United States stands with India in defending their sovereign interests," Austin said.  

Two men greet each other.
Leader Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III greets Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh prior to a bilateral meeting at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2022.
Photo By: Air Force TSgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 220411-D-XI929-1004

"Beijing is not alone in its efforts to undermine the security of its neighbors and to change the status quo by force," he said. "Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian devastation that it has created are blatant attempts to undermine the international order that is grounded in the rules and the principles that we share."  

India is the world's largest democracy, and India's leadership is central to this rules-based order, Austin said. "So too, is a US-India defense partnership and our collaboration with like-minded partners," he said. "We now coordinate alongside each other across the Indo-Pacific region and across domains, which is truly extraordinary. And we are committed to working seamlessly with you across new and emerging domains, including space and cyberspace."