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Foreign Secretary Kwatra meets senior officials in Washington, reviews progress in India-US strategic ties

Foreign Secretary Kwatra met US State Department Deputy Secretary Richard Verma and Deputy Secretary Kurt Campbell as well as other senior officials. These discussions were largely on the growing defence and commercial ties between India and the US.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: April 13, 2024 12:24 IST
Foreign Secretary, Vinay Kwatra, US visit
Image Source : KATHLEEN HICKS (X) US Deputy Defence Secretary Kathleen Hicks with Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.

Washington: Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra met several senior officials in the US, including Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks, to review the progress made on further consolidating the India-US bilateral strategic ties and discussed their shared efforts to promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region. Kwatra arrived in the US for a series of meetings with officials to advance bilateral cooperation in defence and technology.

According to an official statement, the Foreign Secretary had detailed discussions with US State Department Deputy Secretary Richard Verma and Deputy Secretary Kurt Campbell as well as other senior officials. He also held discussions with key counterpart officials at the National Security Council, and the departments of defence, commerce and energy.

Kwatra and Hicks discussed priorities for strengthening the US-India defence partnership, including the implementation of the roadmap for the US-India Defence Industrial Cooperation, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said. The two officials underscored the historic momentum in the Major Defence Partnership in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Both officials applauded the efforts by both countries to advance the co-production of fighter jet engines and armoured vehicles, as well as the continued success of the India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) in promoting innovation and partnerships between the two countries. 

"Today, I met with Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra to take stock of the historic major defence partnership between our countries. We’re continuing to expand our partnership in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," said Hicks on X.

Kwatra and Hicks also discussed the importance of expanding the scope of US-India military engagements to strengthen cooperation across all domains while highlighting the shared efforts to promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific, according to Pahon.

Rising cooperation between India and the US

The Indian embassy in Washington said Kwatra's visit was in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and provided an opportunity to further advance our growing and future-oriented partnership. "These discussions spanned the entire gamut of India-US ties, growing defence and commercial ties, supply chain resilience and contemporary regional developments," the embassy said.

Kwatra's visit came as US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is set to arrive in India next week to "compare notes on the Indo-Pacific, talk about technology cooperation and meet his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and others to take the India-US relationship to the next level. Sullivan is likely to meet Doval for the annual review meeting for the initiative on critical and emerging technologies (iCET) that was postponed in February.

US President Joe Biden's top national security aide will be in New Delhi on April 17 and is scheduled to have meetings on April 18. Sullivan would be in India next week “to celebrate elements of our bilateral relationship, compare notes on the Indo-Pacific, and also talk about the next steps in technology cooperation. We think these are all effective, prudent elements of taking the US-India relationship to the next level,” a senior White House administration official. 

"I think if you ask the President, one of the things that he’s proudest of is his efforts to build a stronger relationship between the United States and India... I do believe, both in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean and on key issues like technology, the United States and India are working more closely together than ever before," said the official.

The official also said that the US-India relationship is "trending substantially in a positive direction and that our level of engagement across every possible vector -- security, intelligence, technology, people-to-people -- has excelled". US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has told lawmakers that by bolstering the Indian military's capabilities, the two nations can work together to uphold a more stable balance of power across the wider Indo-Pacific region.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | US NSA Jake Sullivan to visit India next week; Indo-Pacific, tech cooperation on agenda

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