That Mr Lloyd Austin, in May, became the first United States Secretary of Defence to include India on his maiden trip abroad - something usually reserved for America's allies - was a strong indication of the importance that Washington places on expanding military ties with New Delhi. Two months on, Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed up with his own visit where, aside from talks with his counterpart S. Jaishankar, he also met India's Prime Minister and national security adviser. Keen observers of Asian geopolitics will not miss the stark contrast in body language displayed in Mr Blinken's meetings last week and in his deputy Wendy Sherman's in China earlier the same week.
The head of the US Special Operations Command followed Mr Blinken to New Delhi. Next, Dr Jaishankar and India's defence minister will be in the US in November for the annual two-plus-two format dialogue. The series of exchanges is emblematic of what is developing to be one of the tightest military collaborations anywhere, now underpinned by regular war games and four foundational agreements, the last of which - on sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries - was signed last October. Even as they share democratic and pluralistic traditions, the developing US-India ties are prompted by their shared perceptions about China.