India’s first 2+2 dialogue with the US, which was scheduled for this month but was postponed, would now take place in the first week of September, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday. Sitharaman said the agenda of the talks would be developing and strengthening defence cooperation and to follow on with what had transpired during the meeting with US defence secretary Jim Matti.
The high-level dialogue involving US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and secretary of defence Jim Mattis and Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Washington DC early in July were postponed. According to Sitharaman, the reason was that Pompeo had been busy with North Korea issues. That was the only window and that was explained to Sushma Swaraj.
Sitharaman said the defence production policy 2018, which has set an export target of Rs 35,000 crore ($5 billion approximately) in defence goods and services by 2025, will come out soon.
The strategic partnership model is also expected to be finalised soon. “Views of all the stakeholders have been received for the draft defence production policy. Soon, the policy will be out.” On delay in the strategic partnership model, she said, “We are in the process of diagnosing the causes of delay in finalising. We want to ensure there is full transparency in the process.”