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India, US signed bilateral space situational awareness arrangement: Austin

WASHINGTON (PTI): India and the US have signed a bilateral space situational awareness arrangement, adding a new dimension to the growing defence relationship between the two countries, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

The agreement was signed on Monday by officials of the two countries on the sidelines of the India-US 2+2 ministerial here co-hosted by Austin along with the Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

The Indian delegation was led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

"I'm pleased to announce that just a few moments ago, we signed a bilateral space situational awareness arrangement, and this will support greater information sharing and cooperation in space, Austin told reporters at the conclusion of the 2+2 ministerial.

We're also deepening our cooperation in cyberspace, including through training and exercises later this year. And we're expanding our information sharing partnership across all warfighting domains, he said.

The two countries, he said have important commitments today that will drive technological innovation and cooperation in emerging defence domains, including space and cyberspace.

For example, we're committed to launching new defence space exchanges later this year between our Space Command and India's Defence Space Agency, he said.

The Biden administration, he said, is working closely with India on a range of priorities to support India's security and its role as a net security provider.

Meanwhile, the defence trade and technology cooperation continues to grow.

We recently concluded an agreement to work together on air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles through our Defence Technology and Trade Initiative. And today we agreed to launch new supply chain cooperation measures that will let us more swiftly support each other's priority defence requirements, he said.

Indian continues to acquire key US defence platforms, and that is forging important new ties between our defence industrial bases. We're doing all of this because the US supports India as a defence industry leader in the Indo-Pacific and a net provider of security in the region, he said.

Observing that China is seeking to refashion the region and the international system more broadly in ways that serve its interests, Austin said the two countries have identified new opportunities to extend the operational reach of their militaries and to coordinate more closely together across the expanse of the Indo-Pacific.

We welcome the Indian Navy's decision to join the combined maritime forces in Bahrain, and we've also committed to more high-end exercises together. Last summer, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group conducted the first-ever combined anti-submarine warfare and air exercise with the Indian Navy and Air Force, he said.

We're looking forward to more of this sort of cooperation as we expand the scope and the complexity of Tiger Triumph, which is our annual major tri-service exercise. And finally, we made commitments today to reinforce our ties with like-minded countries including Japan, Australia, and our European allies and partners, he said.

Take, for example, the Quad's newly launched Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Mechanism, which will bring together our defence and civil disaster -- and civilian disaster relief agencies to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is better prepared for future crises. Now, as two of the world's largest democracies, the United States and India are linked by more than our common interests, Austin said.

As we look at the future we want to make sure that we maintain the ability to operate together. So we look forward to those continued discussions. It also includes a range of options that would make our systems more affordable. This is work that will continue going forward and again look forward to continuing to have them as a strong and reliable partner, said the Defence Secretary.


India  US  Space  Agreement  

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