Defence Minister Rajnath Singh likely to meet his US counterpart on April 11: Report

In the midst of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar will meet with their US counterparts around April 11 to strengthen defence and political ties and exchange notes on Ukraine and Indo-Pacific theatres of concern.

In the midst of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar will meet with their US counterparts around April 11 to strengthen defence and political ties and exchange notes on Ukraine and Indo-Pacific theatres of concern reported ANI.

This will be the first two-plus-two dialogue between India and the United States since President Joe Biden took office. While India has noted with concern public statements from the US about New Delhi being “shaky” and on the “wrong side of history,” the Narendra Modi government’s position on Ukraine is quite clear, as it has called for the cessation of all violence, the resolution of differences through dialogue, and the territorial integrity of nation-states.

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During telephone conversations, Prime Minister Modi expressed the same position to Russian President Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. New Delhi also recalls the EU countries’ silence, particularly Germany’s, in criticising China for the PLA’s unilateral transgression on the East Ladakh LAC in May 2020. The same EU countries continue to buy Russian oil and gas while blaming India for the Ukraine conflict.

During the two-plus-two dialogue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Llyod Austin are expected to share the American assessment of the Ukraine war, which is now dragging on as Russian forces lose steam and Moscow re-defines war objectives.

The two sides will also discuss the Indo-Pacific, with the Chinese Navy expanding by the day and the PLA dragging its feet on restoring peace and tranquillity along the East Ladakh LAC. The PLA is still fully deployed in the occupied Aksai Chin area, with heavy weaponry and long-range missiles in Xinjiang and Tibet.

The American F-18 deck-based fighter being considered for the soon-to-be-commissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will also increase India-US defence cooperation. The twin-engine multirole combat jet is expected to undergo ski jump trials at INS Hamla in Goa in April-May, following the completion of Rafale-M trials in January of this year. The Indian Navy is expected to spend at least.