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President Biden reaffirmed strength to defence ties with India: Shringla

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Washington, September 25

US President Joe Biden in his first-ever meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed the strength to defence relationship and his unwavering commitment to India as a major defence partner, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.

President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Modi to the White House on Friday. The meeting of the two leaders in the Oval Office lasted for more than 90 minutes, instead of the scheduled 60 minutes.

“President Biden reaffirmed the strength to the defence relationship and unwavering commitment to India as a major defence partner. The leaders welcomed the deepening of advanced industrial cooperation in the defence sector,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters at a joint news conference on Friday.

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During the meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, he said, there was emphasis on co-developing, co-production and expanding the area of industrial cooperation in the defence sector.

Having concluded four major defence enabling agreements since 2016, the United States and India have made significant progress as Major Defence Partners and America looks forward to further increasing information sharing, bilateral and multilateral exercises, maritime security cooperation, liaison officer exchanges, and logistical cooperation, the White House said in a fact sheet.

In furtherance of the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the United States and India agreed in July to a USD 22 million project to co-develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles. DTTI currently encompasses four working groups, and the next senior officials’ meeting later this year would further expand defence industrial collaboration, it said.

The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian military, having offered state-of-the-art capabilities, such as the F/A-18, F-15EX, and F-21 fighter aircraft; MQ-9B unmanned aerial systems; the IADWS missile system; and additional P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, it said. PTI

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