US, India diplomats and defense chiefs pledge cooperation

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US defense chief Lloyd Austin met with their Indian counterparts on Friday. The two delegations agreed to strengthen defense cooperation.

The so-called "2-plus-2 dialogue" took place on Friday in New Delhi. This is the fifth such annual meeting on issues of concern aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.

During the dialogue, Blinken said "We're bolstering our partnership in international peace and security, and specifically, working to promote the rules-based order and uphold the principles at the heart of the United Nations Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence."

His counterpart, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said, "In the 2+2, we will undertake, as we have done before, a comprehensive overview of cross-cutting strategic defense and security ties, technology and supply-chain collaborations and people-to-people exchanges."

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that defense remains one of the most important pillars of their bilateral relationship.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that they have made impressive gains in building their major defense partnership over the past year, and that will help them contribute more to the cause of peace and stability.

The two sides agreed to advance bilateral defense cooperation. This comes as China increases its maritime activities in the Indo-Pacific region.

They also discussed working together within a cooperative framework of the so-called Quad, which also includes Japan and Australia.

Washington is aiming to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region. In June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden met in Washington and agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of defense and advanced technology. They also made plans to co-produce US-developed fighter jet engines in India.