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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Opening Remarks at the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

SECRETARY AUSTIN:  Okay. Secretary Blinken, Minister Singh, Minister Jaishankar, it is a privilege to be here with you today for the fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. It’s been nearly two decades since we signed our first defense framework, and we’ve built a partnership that is now a cornerstone of security in the Indo-Pacific. Today, we are positioning the U.S. and Indian militaries to operate and coordinate closely together across all domains and increasingly across the wider Indo-Pacific, all in support of the rule of law, freedom of the seas, and regional peace and security.

Those are vital principles, and now, more than ever, democracies must stand together to defend the values that we all share. We all understand the challenges that we face in the Indo-Pacific. The People’s Republic of China is seeking to refashion the region and the international system more broadly in ways that serve its authoritarian interests. But as we operationalize our defense agreements and take our cooperation to the next level, I believe that we can sustain and strengthen a favorable balance of power in the region.

So, I’m looking forward to discussing a range of bilateral defense priorities, including deeper information sharing and industrial cooperation. All this will help to ensure that our militaries are ready to meet any challenge.

Now, a strong U.S.-Indian partnership is a critical building block in a more resilient, regional security architecture, and so today’s 2+2 is an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen our cooperation with like-minded partners from East and Southeast Asia to Europe and beyond.

So, we’ve got an ambitious agenda today. It reflects our combined vision for our partnership and our shared conviction that we can shape the course of history for the better and preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific at peace with itself and the world.
Ministers, I know that you’ve had a long trip to Washington and thank you for making it here for this important dialogue. I am truly grateful for your vision, your commitment, and your leadership, as we work together to build one of the most consequential partnerships of our time.

Thank you, and I’ll now turn it over to Minister Singh.

A full transcript of the meeting’s opening remarks is available at