Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

U.S., India seek to deepen defence ties and sign key accord

India to go ahead with S-400 deal with Russia despite threat of US sanctions – reports An S-400 launcher during a parade in Moscow
| 07 September, 2018, 11:24

"He has also valued the United States as an advocate for India's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, sought out access to cyber security cooperation to ensure progress in a growing e-commerce sector, acknowledged a growing reliance on the U.S. liquified natural gas to bring clean energy to an overly polluted country, and emphasized a mutual commitment to democratic values", Roemer wrote.

Both Pompeo and Mattis arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for the inaugural Indo-US two-plus-two talks which was finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington previous year.

The US only signs COMCASA agreements with trusted allies, and Washington hopes to deepen its military ties with India.

"The landmark agreement deepens our military to military cooperation and our ability to share the most advanced defense technology, making us both stronger", Mattis said.

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.

The deal reflects growing ties between the USA and India - the world's two largest democracies - both of whom are concerned about China's rising power.

Sushma Swaraj said that the decision has been taken to set up new hotline so that she and Pompeo, and Jim Mattis and Nirmala Sitharaman, can be in continuous touch with each other.

Pompeo said that the United States wants to bridge the trade deficit with India, reported ANI.

In a joint statement after the separate bilateral meetings of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with their respective counterparts US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defence General James Mattis, India said it welcomed the recent designations of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists by the United States.


India and the USA also vowed closer cooperation in counterterrorism operations. India, which has historically tried to be neutral in world affairs, has bristled at what it considers US restraints on its foreign policy decisions.

On US sanctions on the import of Iranian oil, the sources said India will explain to the US its position on the issue, including how the import has been crucial for India's energy security. Both moves would violate US sanctions.

Experts believe the signing of the agreement could also reduce the chances of the United States imposing sanctions on India for looking to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

But in their public comments Thursday, neither side mentioned the Russian Federation or Iran disputes.

Felter said the issue of a potential S-400 purchase by India did not come up during talks.

New Delhi, one of the biggest buyers of Iranian crude, will have to find measures to nullify the effect of USA sanctions on Iran.

But U.S. military sales to India have expanded rapidly - going from zero in 2008 to $15 billion this year.

Felter said that by signing the agreement some Indian weapon systems would see an immediate increase in capabilities, including the C-130 and C-17 aircraft. Some of this tech is very sensitive.

Recognising their rapidly growing military-to-military ties, the two sides also chose to have a new tri-services exercise as well as to further expand the scope of jointly developing military platforms and equipment.

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