2+2 meeting ends with boost for defence, trade but sanctions elude agreement

The two sides pledged to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral formats.

Published: 07th September 2018 01:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2018 12:28 PM   |  A+A-


External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State Pompeo, Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis pose for a group photograph before the inaugural 2 + 2 Dialogue in New Delhi.(Photo | Twitter / @MEAIndia)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The India-US strategic partnership got a significant shot in the arm with the conclusion of the first 2+2 dialogue which concluded in New Delhi Thursday, particularly with the signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced and encrypted American defense systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing US-origin platforms. The two sides also pledged to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral formats.

Addressing the media jointly after the meeting, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis stressed on the fact that common defence and security concerns were the main drivers of the relationship, although ramping up trade and commerce, particularly in the field of energy, as well as people to people connections were also part of the discussions. "Specifically, I conveyed our expectation for a non-discriminatory and predictable approach to the H1B visa regime, given its high impact on innovation, competitiveness and people-to-people partnership," said Swaraj in her statement.

Terrorism was also a major part of the discussions. "The Ministers denounced any use of terrorist proxies in the region, and in this context, they called on Pakistan to ensure that the territory under its control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries," said the joint statement released after the meeting. "On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, they called on Pakistan to bring to justice expeditiously the perpetrators of the Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri, and other cross-border terrorist attacks.

The Ministers welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on designation of terrorists in 2017, which is strengthening cooperation and action against terrorist groups, including Al-Qa'ida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, D-Company, and their affiliates," it said. None of the four, however, made any mention about the impact of US sanctions on India's decision to buy the S400 Triumf air defence missile system from Russia and oil and gas imports from Iran. Privately, however, an official admitted that "detailed, animated but courteous discussions" had taken place on these subjects, but were inconclusive and the talks would continue. And while no one mentioned China, a lot was said about ensuring a free and rules based order in the Indo-Pacific region, where Beijing has been aggressively staking claims, particularly in the South China Sea. Again, privately, officials said China had been a key area of discussion.

"We see the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive concept, with ASEAN centrality at the core and defined by a common rules-based order that both our countries are pursuing," said Swaraj. And in a veiled reference to the China's Belt and Road Initiative, the joint statement said: "Noting the importance of infrastructure and connectivity for the Indo-Pacific region, both sides emphasized the need to work collectively with other partner countries to support transparent, responsible, and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development."

"Celebrating over 70 years of diplomatic cooperation, the Ministers reaffirmed their view that India and the United States, as sovereign democracies founded on the values of freedom, justice, and commitment to the rule of law, must continue to lead global efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security," said the joint statement released after the meeting.


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  • Hameedali Hyderabad

    The meeting between Mr Pomeo & MrJamesMattis of USA and India didn't touch the Sticky issues like Import of crude oil and gas from Iran S400 missile from Russia and the H1B1 visa problems. The COMCASA agreement was made to be signed by India The USA tries to make us in the South sea Supreme thereby creating a Cold War between China and India.
    3 years ago reply
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