2+2 dialogue with US in September: Nirmala Sitharaman

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New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2018 11:37:51 PM

The '2+2 dialogue' between India and the US is expected to take place in September, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

Nirmala Sitharaman, 2+2 dialogue, defence, Washington, denuclearisation plan, strengthen defence, indiaDefence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (IE)

The ‘2+2 dialogue’ between India and the US is expected to take place in September, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. The dialogue was scheduled for July 6 in Washington but it was postponed by the US as Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo had to travel to North Korea to discuss the country’s denuclearisation plan.

“The 2+2 dialogue with the US is to take place in the first week of September. The focus of the talks will be to strengthen defence and security cooperation,” Sitharaman told reporters. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sitharaman will be travelling to the US to take part in the talks with Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.

Mattis had visited India last September during which he held wide-ranging talks with Sitharaman. “We will also follow up on what was agreed during my meeting with Secretary Mattis here last year,” Sitharaman said. When asked whether India would sign the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US, the defence minister said no decision has been taken on the issue.

“We are yet to arrive at a final position,” she said. The COMCASA will facilitate India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US. Asked about reports that the Army has decided to shelve its plan to raise the Mountain Strike Corps due to financial constraints, Sitharaman said it was for the Army to implement it. “There is no financial crunch. We are not underplaying its (Mountain Strike Corp) importance. It was for Army to raise it,” she said.

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