New Delhi: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin wrapped up his visit to India on Monday, aimed at strengthening the major defence partnership between the two countries and advancing cooperation in critical domains, the US Department of Defence said.

The visit took place ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to Washington.

During his two-day visit, secretary Austin held crucial meetings with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The discussions revolved around various regional security issues, with both sides expressing their commitment to close collaboration in order to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

One of the key outcomes of the visit was the conclusion of a new Roadmap for U.S.-India Defense Industrial Cooperation. This roadmap aims to expedite technology cooperation and co-production in areas such as air combat, land mobility systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, munitions, and the undersea domain. The initiative seeks to transform the cooperation between the defense sectors of both nations, allowing India access to cutting-edge technologies and supporting its defense modernization plans.

Additionally, secretary Austin and minister Singh pledged to address regulatory hurdles that hinder closer industry-to-industry cooperation. They also agreed to initiate negotiations on a Security of Supply Arrangement and a Reciprocal Defence Procurement agreement to ensure long-term supply chain stability.

The discussions also emphasized the significance of defence innovation and cooperation in emerging domains such as space, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence. The launch of the Advanced Domains Defence Dialogue was praised, with both sides committing to expanding the scope of bilateral defence cooperation to cover all domains.

Furthermore, the establishment of the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) was welcomed. This new initiative, scheduled to be launched by the US-India Business Council on June 21, aims to promote cutting-edge technology cooperation by fostering innovative partnerships between companies, investors, start-up accelerators, and academic research institutions.

The visit also emphasized the importance of strengthening operational collaboration across all military services, with a focus on supporting India’s role as a key security provider in the Indo-Pacific. Discussions centered on enhancing information sharing and increasing cooperation in the maritime domain.

Secretary Austin commended India’s leadership in the Quad Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative (IPMDA), which aims to enhance domain awareness capabilities for countries in the region.

The meetings concluded with secretary Austin highlighting the centrality of the US-India partnership in maintaining peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The visit set the stage for Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Washington, further strengthening the ties between the two nations.