India and the US will co-produce an infantry combat vehicle as part of defence industrial cooperation, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Friday. He said this while speaking to a small group of journalists after the ‘2+2’ defence and foreign ministerial dialogue in Delhi.
Besides Austin, the US delegation comprised Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Indian side was headed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. “We are working together to co-produce an armoured vehicle and that is extremely important,” Austin said.
To a question, he said the talks covered a wide range of issues including the rising security challenges from China.
At the same time, he said the US-India relationship is not just based on challenges that China represents but it is based on shared values between the two countries.
Asked about the project under which India will procure 31 MQ-9B drones from the US, Austin said it will be announced at the right time.
Officials in the government are doing everything possible to make sure that India gets that capability as quickly as possible, he said.
We are stepping up US-India defence activities in multiple domains — from space to under sea, Austin said.
We exchanged views on major developments in Indo-Pacific region, Middle East and Ukraine, he said.
The defence secretary said the US-India cooperation is stronger than ever.