The first edition of the “2+2” India-US strategic dialogue on security and defence ties would be held in New Delhi on September 6, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.
The first edition of the “2+2” India-US strategic dialogue on security and defence ties would be held in New Delhi on September 6, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “Minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj and raksha mantri (defence minister) Nirmala Sitharaman will host US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in New Delhi on September 6, 2018, for the inaugural 2+2 dialogue.”
The US State Department also confirmed that the “inaugural US-India 2+2 dialogue will be held in New Delhi on September 6”. It said the two sides will meet “to discuss strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation as the US and India jointly address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond”.
The “2+2” dialogue for strategic-level talks was agreed upon by the two sides during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US trip in June 2017. The new format replaces the strategic and commercial dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries held during the Obama administration.
According to sources, “…the major focus will be to seek finalisation of key defence agreements like the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) – a defence foundational pact that will enable India to obtain critical, secure and encrypted defence technologies from other countries.
Swaraj and Sitharaman are expected to discuss the impact of US sanctions targeting Moscow under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and how it would impact India’s military purchases from Russia and also the issue of crude oil import from Iran which is under the ambit of sanctions. The US sanctions against could impact India’s proposed $5.5-billion purchase of five regiments of S-400 Triumf advanced air defence system from Russia.
However, defence minister Sitharaman last week told a section of the media that the CAATSA, essentially a US law, was not binding on India and would therefore not affect India’s foreign policy and strategic decisions with other countries.
She had also said, “The agenda will be to develop strengthening strategic defence cooperation and to follow on what had transpired during the meeting with Mattis and how to address issues including the logistics agreement.”