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New Delhi : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on September 6, 2018, welcomed Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James N Mattis here  for the inaugural India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue.

They welcomed the launch of the 2+2 Dialogue as a reflection of the shared commitment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump to provide a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-US strategic partnership and to promote synergy in their diplomatic and security efforts. They resolved to continue meetings in this format on an annual basis.

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, according to a PIB release.

Recognizing their two countries are strategic partners, major and independent stakeholders in world affairs, the Ministers committed to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral formats. The two sides further decided to establish secure communication between the Minister of External Affairs of India and the US Secretary of State and between the Defence Minister of India and the US Secretary of Defence, to help maintain regular high-level communication on emerging developments.

The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner (MDP) of the United States and committed to expand the scope of India’s MDP status and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defence ties further and promote better defence and security coordination and cooperation. They noted the rapid growth in bilateral defence trade and the qualitative improvement in levels of technology and equipment offered by the United States to India in recent years.

They welcomed the inclusion of India by the United States among the top tier of countries entitled to licence-free exports, re-exports and transfers under License Exception Strategic Trade Authorisation (STA-1) and also committed to explore other means to support further expansion in two-way trade in defence items and defence manufacturing supply chain linkages.

They welcomed the signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India optimally utilise its existing US-origin platforms. The Ministers also announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would support closer defence industry cooperation and collaboration.

Recognising their rapidly growing military-to-military ties, the two sides committed to the creation of a new, tri-services exercise and to further increase personnel exchanges between the two militaries and defence organizations. The Ministers reviewed the recent growth of bilateral engagements in support of maritime security and maritime domain awareness and committed to expand cooperation. Toward that end, the Ministers committed to start exchanges between the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Indian Navy, underscoring the importance of deepening their maritime cooperation in the western Indian Ocean.



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