2+2 dialogue: Sushma, Sitharaman meet with American counterparts

US puts pressure on Pakistan on behest of India, says Chinese scholar

Sitharaman stated that signing the COMCASA with the USA will help to improve India's defence preparedness.

However, he said that "China is a big elephant in the room in any discussion between New Delhi and Washington as far as the India-Pacific region is concerned".

Defense cooperation, in particular, has emerged as the "most significant dimension" of the U.S. -India relationship, said Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Besides, Indian forces can tap into the Common Air and Tactical Picture or Maritime Domain available with the US.

In his opening remarks for the dialogue, US Secretary of state Pompeo said that the two nations are "united by shared values of democracy, respect for individual rights and a shared commitment to freedom".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are on an official visit to India with a top agenda priority of pressuring New Delhi to stop buying Iran's oil.

Pompeo said the "2+2" talks were "forward looking".

With Thursday's Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), India has concluded three of the four foundational agreements with the USA that had been planned for years.

The agreement was signed during a meeting between the defense and foreign ministers of both countries in New Delhi.

Swaraj said the efforts by India and the U.S. in promoting an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan government-controlled reconciliation process were also discussed.

In 2016, Washington designated India as a "major defence partner", making it easier for the two countries to do arms deals.




The focus of the dialogue will be to deepen strategic ties and resolve differences over India's defence engagement with Russian Federation and crude oil import from Iran.

Pompeo told reporters after the meeting that no resolution had been made on the issue.

The COMCASA will also provide a legal framework for defence technology transfer between the U.S. and India and help New Delhi acquire critical platforms like Sea Guardian drones from the US.

Most recently, the USA has taken issue with India's purchase of oil from Iran and its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system.

India already has bought US Apache attack helicopters and other gear, and is negotiating to buy armed drones.

The India-U.S. "2+2" talks - called that because they include the top diplomatic and defense officials of both countries - have been postponed twice, the last time when Pompeo was dispatched in July for talks in North Korea.

India's trade ties with sanctions-hit Iran and Russian Federation have been a key sticking point between the two sides in recent months. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil during April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of 2017-18 fiscal). "We want the trade balance, the trade deficit that the United States has in its trade with India, to be rectified".

India welcomed the recent U.S.

In his remarks during the 2+2 summit, Pompeo said the U.S. looked forward to "finalising the Westinghouse nuclear project that will provide clean and reliable power to millions of Indians".

In Islamabad, Pompeo and Dunford met Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

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