Defense Minister Lloyd Austin travels to India ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to New Delhi next week to meet with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, the Pentagon has announced. The visit comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the White House next month.

Austin will visit New Delhi to meet Defense Secretary Rajnath Singh and other leaders as the United States and India continue to modernize the important US-India defense partnership, the Pentagon said Thursday, announcing the defense minister’s trip to Japan, Singapore, India and France next week.

“This visit provides an opportunity to accelerate new defense innovation and industrial cooperation initiatives and fuel continued efforts to expand operational cooperation between the US and Indian militaries,” the Pentagon said. Austin begins his journey from Japan as part of his seventh official visit to the Indo-Pacific region. In Tokyo, he plans to meet with Japanese Defense Minister Yasukasu Hamada and other senior leaders and also visit US troops stationed in Japan, it said.

The visit also comes as the United States and Japan take important steps to modernize the alliance’s capabilities, optimize the U.S. force posture and build ties with like-minded partners after the historic U.S.-Japan “2 +2” ministerial meeting earlier this year, the Pentagon said. From there, Austin will travel to Singapore, where he will deliver plenary remarks at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 20th Shangri-La Dialogue.

On the sidelines of the dialogue, the Secretary will meet with key leaders to advance US defense partnerships across the region in support of the shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific anchored in ASEAN centrality. After Singapore, Austin will visit New Delhi and then conclude his trip in France to take part in events commemorating the 79th anniversary of D-Day, and meet French and British defense leaders, it added.

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