Marking a significant step in international diplomacy, on Friday, November 10th, India and the United States announced progress on key defense deals and a commitment to expand their partnership in the face of global challenges. This development came as top diplomats and senior ministers from both nations met in New Delhi for their annual “2+2 Dialogue,” focusing on regional security, China, and conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin joined Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in discussions that underscored the evolving relationship between the two countries. Once on opposite sides of the Cold War, India and the U.S. are now collaborating on landmark defense deals, including the supply and manufacturing of engines for Indian fighter jets by General Electric’s aerospace unit and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics.
The talks also covered a more than $3 billion deal for India to acquire 31 armed drones made by General Atomics, pending U.S. government clearances. Additionally, the Pentagon has offered several infantry combat vehicle systems, with New Delhi expressing interest in jointly manufacturing them in India.
Blinken emphasized the deepening collaboration on emerging technologies, defense, and people-to-people ties, aligning diplomacy for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, prosperous, and resilient. The crisis in the Middle East, particularly the October 7 attack by Hamas militants in Israel, was a key topic, with India condemning the attack and reiterating its position for an independent Palestine.
The U.S. and India’s joint statement called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages in Gaza and expressed support for humanitarian pauses. The statement highlighted the commitment to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.
India’s tense ties with China, exacerbated by the 2020 border clash in the Himalayan Ladakh region, were also discussed, though details were not disclosed. The U.S. expects India to be a leading security provider in the Indo-Pacific region, with both countries working together to address ongoing crises such as Russia’s war against Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.
The two-plus-two talks, a tradition since 2018, have been instrumental in strengthening bilateral ties. The roadmap for defense industrial cooperation discussed during the meeting aims to fast-track technology cooperation and co-production of defense systems, enhancing India’s capabilities and defense production, and promoting supply chain resilience.