During the “2+2 meet,” the ministers promised to carry out Modi and Biden’s promises to make consistent efforts to address export control issues. As they announced plans to work together to develop and produce an armored infantry vehicle, India and the US on Friday looked at new avenues to deepen their strategic partnership to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific against the threat of an assertive China.
The defense minister Rajnath Singh, the external affairs minister S Jaishankar, and their American counterparts Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken co-chaired the fifth annual 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Topics discussed included the defense industry partnership, preventing terrorism, and modern technology in industries like semiconductor products and essential minerals.
In addition to focusing on ways to strengthen cooperation in fields like space, education, and health, the conversation expanded on a number of initiatives announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June visit to the US. Those initiatives included the co-production of engines to power India’s new fighting jets and the provision of 31 MQ-9B Reaper drones.
In his introductory remarks, Jaishankar stated that the dialogue presents a chance to further the vision of our respective leaders, fostering a forward-thinking partnership as we develop a common global agenda. Singh also mentioned the increasing convergence of strategic interests in the relationship that exists between the US and India.
In light of pressing global issues, Austin stated that it is more crucial than ever for the two biggest democracies in the world to identify shared objectives. We are sharing cutting-edge technology, bolstering our interoperability, and merging our industrial bases. He continued, “Our collaboration has a broad scope that extends from the bottom of the ocean to space.”
Jaishankar added that the Indo-Pacific region would be a major topic of discussion in advance of the Quad Leaders’ Summit, which India will host early in the following year. Blinken pointed out that the two nations are working to create an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, prosperous, safe, and resilient, in part by fortifying their alliance through Quad.
“We are sharing commercial satellite data with countries in the region to boost their capacity to combat illegal fishing, piracy, and drug trafficking,” he said. The two sides decided to “move forward with the co-production of armored infantry vehicles,” Austin stated at a post-meeting media briefing. The infantry combat vehicle is a component of a bilateral defense industry cooperation road map to co-develop and co-produce machinery, equipment, and weapons, according to Defense Secretary Giridhar Aramane at a separate news briefing.
The United States has made the first offer on a number of infantry combat vehicle systems. Aramane stated, “We have indicated our curiosity in addressing [this] further to take the co-development and co-production part ahead,” but it will take some time because both nations’ military and industrial teams need to come up with a detailed plan.
According to Austin and Aramane, plans are moving forward to co-produce General Electric’s GE F-414 jet engine and supply India with MQ-9B drones. According to Aramane, the parties are completing the business agreement and setting up the necessary legal frameworks to manufacture the jet engine.
Austin added that the US and India share the belief that the Indo-Pacific region should remain open and free and that “we should be able to sail the international seas and fly international airspace wherever authorized by law.” The two countries also discussed the “rising security challenges” and threats posed by China during the 2+2 dialogue.