India, US can play key role in shaping geopolitical landscape of Indo-Pacific: Defence Secretary

New Delhi, 21 Feb (IANS) Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday that India and the United States are key stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region, bound by shared values and common interests.

Speaking at the second edition of the INDUS-X Summit here, Aramane said, “Today, we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the history of the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific, with its vast expanse of oceans and strategic waterways, stands as the crossroad of global commerce, geopolitics and security.

“In navigating the complex dynamics of this region, India and the United States find themselves as key stakeholders, bound by shared values and common interests.”

On the bilateral partnership in the aerospace and defence sectors, Aramane said, “Our bilateral relationship is flourishing, with India increasingly turning to the United States for cutting-edge equipment and technology.

“The United States, in turn, sees India as a key partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy, leveraging India’s growing defence capabilities.”

The senior official also talked about the multilateral engagements where both the countries are stakeholders.

Aramane also highlighted the Initiatives on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), launched jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in 2022.

“A pivotal aspect of our burgeoning relationship is the iCET that aims to establish ‘Innovation Bridges’ across the key sectors, including defence, through expos, hackathons, and pitching sessions,” the Defence Secretary said.

He also talked about the Defence Innovation Bridge, a significant outcome of iCET, serving as a catalyst for collaboration between the US and Indian startups in the defence sector.

Aramane mentioned that the introduction of Joint IMPACT Challenges was a distinctive initiative aimed at collaboratively advancing defence and aerospace co-development and co-production initiatives.

“The incorporation of startups actively involved in pioneering solutions introduces a fresh dimension to the breadth and potency of this partnership,” he said.

The Defence Secretary also underscored the success stories of India’s defence production, ranging from shipbuilding, including aircraft carriers, to the development of advanced weaponry such as Tejas multi-role fighter aircraft, and attack and utility combat helicopters that have drawn the attention of international buyers.

Aramane called upon the India-US industry representatives and other stakeholders present at the Summit to further deepen the strategic bilateral partnership and harness the full potential of the cooperation.

“By leveraging our respective strengths and capabilities, India and the United States can play a pivotal role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the Indo-Pacific, promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” he said.

The second edition of the INDUS-X Summit was jointly organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), Ministry of Defence, and US Department of Defense (DoD) on February 20-21.

The event was jointly coordinated by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and the Society of India Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).



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