Indian National security advisor Ajit Doval and American Defence Secretary General Lloyd Austin are likely to discuss China and important regional security issues including Afghanistan during the first visit by a top Biden administration official to India starting this Friday. Austin is visiting India from March 19 to 21 in which he will be meeting the top political and military leadership of the country.
“The American Defence Secretary and national security advisor Ajit Doval are likely to meet on Friday itself during which they are expected to set the stage for the visit by discussing all important security issues including China,” government sources told ANI. The discussions between the American Defence Secretary and the NSA would be the first major interaction between the two sides during the visit. India and America have been working closely with each other after the Chinese attempts to change the status quo in the eastern Ladakh area in April May time frame last year.
The American side also helped by providing timely defence hardware supplies during the conflict apart from sharing important satellite feed and inputs. The issue of Afghanistan and India’s role there is also likely to be discussed during the talks between both the dignitaries. NSA Doval played a significant role in the ongoing ceasefire agreements reached between the armies of India and Pakistan through parleys held at different levels.
During the American defence secretary visit, both sides are expected to discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation and exchange views on regional security challenges and common interests in maintaining a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Discussions regarding defence cooperation would also focus on how both countries could consolidate military-to-military cooperation and defence trade and industry cooperation.
Secretary Austin’s visit to India as part of his first overseas travel emphasizes the strength of the India-US strategic partnership.