Updated June 1st, 2024 at 14:08 IST

Lloyd Austin Lauds Boost in US-India Defence Collaboration at Shangri La Dialogue

At the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin praised the current US-India relations, describing them as better than ever.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Lloyd Austin | Image:Twitter

Singapore: At the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin lauded the current state of US-India relations, describing them as better than ever before. Austin highlighted the significant advancements in defence collaboration between the two nations, particularly in the co-production of armoured vehicles. This marks a notable achievement in the strategic partnership between the United States and India.

Austin emphasized the momentum in the bilateral relationship, noting that the US has made substantial progress in co-producing fighter jet engines and armored vehicles with India. "I think there is significant momentum. I think a good example is the relationship that we enjoy with India right now is as good as or better than our relationship has ever been. It's really strong," Austin remarked at the dialogue.  

Common Values Anchor US-India Strategic Partnership 

Several years ago, the idea to enable India to build jet engines for fighter aircraft was set in motion. This ambitious plan faced significant skepticism regarding its feasibility. However, Austin expressed pride in the successful realization of this vision. "We set out with a notion to gain approval for India to build jet engines for fighter aircraft in India. I served on the board of a company that makes jet engines for fighter aircraft. And I know how difficult this was going to be. And we were hopeful, but very skeptical that we could get this across the finish line. We did it. That's happening," he stated.

The co-production of armored vehicles with India is another milestone in the defence partnership. Austin also highlighted the strategic use of new technology and training aimed at bolstering capabilities in Southeast Asia. He underscored the deep-rooted common values and vision shared by the US and India, which serve as the foundation of their growing partnership. "So the anchors of our progress are sunk pretty deep throughout the region, and they're based on a common vision and common values," he said. "And so I believe that the momentum that we see is going to not only continue, but it's going to... that flywheel is going to pick up speed because this benefits us all." 


Landmark Jet Engine Deal Enhances Defence Capabilities 

The Shangri-La Dialogue, organized annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore, is a prominent "Track One" inter-governmental security conference. During the dialogue, Austin reflected on the revolutionary deal between the US and India to produce jet weapons collaboratively. The landmark agreement, revealed in June last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the US, involved General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics signing a memorandum of understanding to manufacture fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force. 


In early 2023, US General Electric announced an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to jointly produce engines in India, further solidifying the defence ties between the two nations. Additionally, in February, the Biden Administration informed the US Congress of its intent to sell nearly $4 billion worth of arms to India, including MQ-9B drones equipped with Hellfire missiles. The Defence Security Cooperation Agency highlighted that this sale would strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship, acknowledging New Delhi's role as a significant force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia regions.  


Published June 1st, 2024 at 14:08 IST