“If confirmed, my overarching goal for our defense relationship with India could be to continue elevating the partnership,” retired Gen. Lloyd Austin advised members of the Senate Armed Services Committee throughout his affirmation listening to on Tuesday. President-elect Joe Biden has nominated him as his Defense Secretary.
“I’d additional operationalise India’s ‘Major Defense Partner’ standing and continue to construct upon present sturdy defense cooperation to make sure the US and Indian militaries can collaborate to handle shared pursuits,” Austin mentioned in response to a query submitted earlier than his affirmation listening to.
He mentioned he would additionally search to deepen and broaden the defense cooperation between India and the US by way of the Quad safety dialogue and different regional multilateral engagements.
Austin mentioned his understanding is that Pakistan has taken constructive steps to meet US requests in help of the Afghanistan peace course of. Pakistan has additionally taken steps in opposition to anti-Indian teams, corresponding to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, though this progress is incomplete, he mentioned.
“Many components as well as to the safety help suspension might influence Pakistan’s cooperation, together with Afghanistan negotiations and the harmful escalation following the Pulwama terrorist assault,” Austin mentioned. President Donald Trump had suspended all of the monetary and safety support to Pakistan in 2018 citing lack of cooperation from Islamabad within the combat in opposition to terrorism.
If confirmed, Austin mentioned he’ll press Pakistan to stop its territory from getting used as a sanctuary for militants and violent extremist organizations. “Continuing to construct relationships with Pakistan’s navy will present openings for the United States and Pakistan to cooperate on key points,” he mentioned.
Austin mentioned he’ll concentrate on the shared pursuits which embody coaching future Pakistan navy leaders by way of the usage of International Military Education and Training funds. Pakistan will play an necessary position in any political settlement in Afghanistan. “We additionally want to work with Pakistan to defeat al-Qaeda and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-Ok) and to improve regional stability,” he mentioned.
Observing that Pakistan is a necessary companion in any peace course of in Afghanistan, Austin mentioned that if confirmed, he’ll encourage a regional method that garners help from neighbours like Pakistan, whereas additionally deterring regional actors from serving as spoilers to the Afghanistan peace course of.