The U.S. and India have a shared curiosity in supporting freedom of navigation and “free, truthful and reciprocal commerce,” in addition to the peaceable decision of disputes within the Indo-Pacific, in response to one of many senior protection officers, who spoke on background to debate delicate bilateral conversations.
“To the extent that China or anyone else would wish to undermine these rules or problem these rules, that’s a part of the way you construct these relationships and construct these networks to supply stability to that or to face up in opposition to it,” the individual mentioned.
Austin’s arrival in New Delhi marks the third cease on his first abroad journey as Pentagon chief and comes after visits to Japan and South Korea for conferences with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their Japanese and Korean counterparts. After his discussions with Modi, Austin will meet with India’s nationwide safety adviser, the senior protection official mentioned. On Saturday, Austin will sit down with the ministers of protection and exterior affairs.
The U.S. has hunted for years to strengthen its partnership with India by elevated navy cooperation, notably with the Indian Navy, and arms gross sales. However one snag might be India’s buy of the superior Russian S-400 missile system. The U.S. imposed sanctions on NATO ally Turkey for its personal buy of the S-400 underneath the Countering America’s Adversaries By Sanctions Act, however has not but penalized India for a similar acquisition.
India’s potential operation of the S-400 would pose an issue for the U.S.; the system was designed to detect and goal superior U.S. fighter jets such because the F-35.
The senior protection official declined to say whether or not the U.S. was weighing sanctions over the S-400, however famous that the system has not but been delivered to India, an occasion that might possible set off penalties.
“Shopping for U.S. gear shouldn’t be a situation for advancing cooperation, our advancing cooperation is predicated on a converging of strategic pursuits,” the senior protection official mentioned, including that purchasing gear that may function collectively “is definitely a method to have the ability to operationalize that partnership.”
One other senior protection official declined to touch upon whether or not Austin would converse with Indian officers about Modi’s harsh remedy of India’s Muslim inhabitants, however mentioned “we routinely elevate problems with human rights.”
The objective within the Indo-Pacific is to construct the prevailing “hub-and-spoke” bilateral relationships between the completely different international locations into “extra of a community set of overlapping relationships” that may do a greater job sharing info and cooperating on navy operations, the senior protection official mentioned.
“It’s going to look very completely different” than the NATO alliance, the individual mentioned. “It’s going to look very distinctive; it’s going to be one thing that matches with how the Indo-Pacific has advanced.”