India, US seal defence pact

India, US seal defence pact

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis arrived separately and was received at the airport by his counterpart, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and other senior officials. In both countries, they have a strong technological bent in India, so this two-way street, not a one-way. India has a surplus of $23 billion in trade with the U.S., and Washington wants to reduce it by forcing New Delhi to buy more American products. Our discussions have paved the way for a new era in India-US defence and strategic engagement.

"It not only allows us to be more interoperable with India, but it allows India to be more interoperable across its own systems.most significantly, it opens up a range of defense technologies to India", Joseph Felter, deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, told a small group of reporters.

"There are very detailed conversations taking place between the U.S. and India on just the technical issues related to going to zero and those conversations will continue", the official added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political and foreign-policy interests in deepening United States ties are clear.

Swaraj said India and the U.S. "agreed to work together to secure India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the earliest".

"The kickoff of the 2+2 was pretty special, a historic level of relationship that the two countries have not previously had", Pompeo said, speaking at a press breifing.

"Our effort here is not to penalize great strategic partners like India", he said.

Addressing a joint press conference, Swaraj said the recent decision by the United States to put India in the list of countries eligible for Strategic Trade Authorisation Tier-I License Exemption reflected India's robust and responsible export control policies.

Sitharaman in her opening remarks said that defense cooperation has become one of the most significant dimensions of the countries' relationship. Data acquired through such systems can not be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India's consent.

"We have acquired various advanced defense platforms from the U.S. We are thus partners in building defense capability in the broadest sense of the term", she said. "Some countries we don't want this tech to fall in the hands of", Felter said, adding the USA has similar agreements with less than 30 countries.

Swaraj said both the sides also agreed on working together towards entry of India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

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. Delhi is buoyed by the fact that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo read the diplomatic version of the riot act to Pakistan en route to Delhi.

None of the four officials who spoke to reporters after the summit but did not take questions mentioned whether the S-400 issue had come up.

The day began on Thursday with separate bilateral meetings between the defence and foreign policy heads of India and the U.S. at the respective ministries in Delhi. Modi "has seen a lot worse than people mocking his accent". Khan said later he was optimistic he could reset the relationship with Washington after the US cut aid payments over Islamabad's alleged failure to combat the country's militants.

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