The US on Monday briefed India on its new trilateral AUKUS military pact with the UK and Australia to take on the challenges posed by China in the Indo-Pacific, stressing it will not detract from either the bilateral cooperation with New Delhi or multilateral ones like the `Quad’.
US secretary of defence Lloyd J Austin told defence minister Rajnath Singh, while briefing him on AUKUS in a telephonic conversation on Monday evening, that Washington will continue to cooperate closely with New Delhi in multilateral fora as before. “Singh, in turn, said India was studying the AUKUS agreement,” said a source.
Austin’s call comes just ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington for the first in-person Quad summit of the leaders of the US, India, Australia and Japan on September 24.
Singh also conveyed India’s deep concerns over the huge amounts of latest US weapons, ranging from Humvees and helicopters to drones, night-vision equipment and assault rifles, left behind in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
“Both the leaders discussed bilateral and regional matters including developments in Afghanistan.