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US thanks NSA Doval for India’s leadership role in Indo-Pacific region

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan in Washington (Image courtesy: Embassy of India in the United States)

The United States has thanked India for its leadership in the region as both countries vowed to deepen coordination between the two militaries during National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s ongoing visit to Washington.

Earlier today, the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks called on NSA Doval to discuss priorities for the US-India bilateral defence partnership, including strengthening policy and operational coordination in the Indo-Pacific region and increasing defence industrial cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting took place at a time when the US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin is on a significant trip to South Korea and the Philippines to bolster regional alliances and partnerships in view of China and North Korea emerging as a critical security challenge for the entire region.

In her meeting with NSA Doval, Hicks reiterated that India remains a key pillar in US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region as it builds alliances and partnerships to address challenges posed by Beijing.

“The deputy secretary thanked NSA Doval for India’s leadership in the region and discussed avenues to deepen coordination between the US and Indian militaries to address the region’s increasingly contested strategic environment,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a statement issued after the Doval-Hicks meeting.

The two, it added, also discussed opportunities to increase bilateral defence industrial cooperation through innovative joint endeavors between US and Indian firms that support India’s unique operational requirements.

The discussions took place after NSA Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan met for the second time in two days to review the ongoing bilateral initiatives, the launch of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) and shared assessments of major global and regional developments.

Tuesday’s “productive meeting” – as it was described by the Embassy of India in Washington – took place after both NSAs participated in a roundtable on Critical and Emerging Technologies on Monday and also held an informal discussion on the sidelines of a reception hosted at India House in the US capital on the same day.

Earlier, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley called on NSA Doval to discuss various aspects of the India-US bilateral cooperation.

Meanwhile, as Austin met with allies in South Korea and the Philippines during his sixth trip to the region, the US acknowledged that the security environment in the Indo-Pacific is growing more complex.

“China remains the pacing challenge for the Defence Department and is fomenting policies designed to change the international rules-based order that has guaranteed peace since World War II,” said the US Defence Department.

Also Read: Ajit Doval, Jake Sullivan formally launch US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies