US defence secretary Lloyd Austin will arrive in India today, for the first in-person engagement between the newly elected Joe Biden government and Modi’s BJP government.
According to sources closer to the development said that China’s aggression in Ladakh, terrorism in the region and steps to further cement India-US defence ties will be top of the agenda for Austin.
“This is Secretary Austin’s first visit abroad after the Quad summit and the first high-level visit by a senior representative of the new US administration. Meetings will be on broad issues, not a detailed exchange of specifics,” said a senior government official.
Austin is on a three-nation tour and India is his third stop. It is Biden’s effort to build a united front against China, rightly described as “pacing threat”.
“China … presents the most significant threat going forward because China is ascending,” Austin told the Senate confirmation hearing back in January, underlining that in contrast to Beijing, the threat from Moscow “is in decline”.
“Our goal is to make sure that we have the capabilities and the operational plans and concepts to be able to offer credible deterrence to China or anybody else who wants to take on the US.”