India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held extensive discussions with US Defence Secy Lloyd Austin on various topics on Monday, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific area.
The talks were held to strengthen the India-US defence ties and to enhance the cooperation between the two countries. The Defence Minister said, “the partnership between India and US is critical for a open and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region.” The Pentagon described the reason for the meet was to ‘modernize the India-US Major Defence Partnership.’
The two countries have signed multiple security and defence pacts in the past. In 2016, the two nations signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).
According to the Ministry of Defence’s statement, LEMOA provides a framework for the bilateral provision of logistical support, services, and supplies for army operations like joint exercises, training, and disaster aid.
They also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018. This agreement gives access to advanced defence systems and enables India to fully use its existing US platforms, as mentioned in the statement by the Ministry of Defence.
In 2020, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) was signed between the two countries to further strengthen the defence ties.
This two-day long visit is the second visit of the US Defence Secretary after a previous trip in 2021. Earlier today, he inspected the Tri-Services Guard of Honour along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi.