US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, on Monday, calling for closer military ties between the countries and warning of security threats posed by China and Russia.
“We’re meeting at a critical moment in the US-India defense partnership,” Austin told Singh as Monday’s talks began. He added that Washington and New Delhi both believe in a “free and open Indo-Pacific” underpinned by respect for national sovereignty and the rule of law, but “we’re facing urgent and mounting challenges to this shared vision.”
Beijing is undermining security in the region by building “dual-use infrastructure” along its border with India and making unlawful territorial claims in the South China Sea, Austin said. “The United States stands with India in defending their sovereign interests,” he pledged.
Austin argued that like China, Russia is trying to “change the status quo by force,” adding, “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.”