New Delhi: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday held a phone call with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh and reiterated the US commitment to strengthen bilateral defence ties. He also condoled the passing away of India's Chief Defence President (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel in the helicopter crash.
During his press conference, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that Minister Austin reiterated the US commitment to strengthen US-India relations and strengthen our defence partnership.' He said, 'Austin expressed deep condolences over the death of India's CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and all other Indian Army members in the helicopter crash on December 8.'
On the other hand, Rajnath Singh tweeted his appreciation for the call made by his US counterpart. He said, "I greatly appreciate the call made by Defence Minister Lloyd Austin, who has expressed condolences over the death of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel. Austin also recalled General Rawat's recent meeting with him during his recent US visit.' Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that General Rawat was a "strong leader and advocate for India and his death is a great loss to both countries."