US Secretary of Defense Llyod James Austin accorded guard of honour at Vigyan Bhawan

March 20, 2021 | Updated 11:32 am

US Secretary of Defense Llyod James Austin accorded guard of honour at Vigyan Bhawan US Secretary of Defense Llyod James Austin receiving guard of honour at Vigyan Bhawan Credits: ANI

New Delhi: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin on Saturday (March 20) was accorded with the Guard of Honour at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Austin arrived in India on Friday for a three-day visit and is the first high-profile US official to visit the country since ex-US President Donald Trump in February 2020. The former four-star US general was received at the Vigyan Bhawan by Indian defense secretary Ajay Kumar. The US official also paid tributes at the National War Memorial.

Austin and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will have a meeting while the former is in India during which discussions are expected to place over the defense partnership between the two countries.

The Secretary of Defense tweeted “Thrilled to be here in India. The breadth of cooperation between our two nations reflects the significance of our major defense partnership, as we work together to address the most pressing challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.”

On Friday Llyod held talks with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and discussed the significance of the major Defense partnership between the two countries to counter the most pressing challenges facing them in the Indo-Pacific region.

US Secretary of Defense Llyod James Austin meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Credits: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Twitter

This comes just after the first Leaders’ Summit of the   Quadrilateral Framework alliance was held on Friday (March 12) which was attended by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, and President of USA Joe Biden.

In the meeting, the Indian PM said, ” We are united by our democratic values, and our commitment to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Our agenda today – covering areas like vaccines, climate change, and emerging technologies – makes the Quad a force for global good.”

US Secretary of Defense Llyod James Austin meeting with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval Credits: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Twitter

The alliance is seen as a challenge to China, especially in the South China Sea region. Previously, the Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar participated in the 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting which was held on February 18, 2021, with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.