The much-awaited first-of-its-kind 2+2 dialogue between India and the US saw the countries signing a landmark security pact, the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), deciding to set up hotlines between their defence and foreign ministers, and deliberating on thorny issues such as India's purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia and import of crude oil from Iran.
Addressing the media after the 2+2 dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that the two countries are committed to work towards strengthening Indo-US relationship.
- Issues including cross-border terrorism, India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the contentious H1B visa issue were also discussed
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their US counterparts met PM Modi after the dialogue
- The 2+2 dialogue was first scheduled for April and then for July, before being finally held on 6 September
Purchase of Russian Missiles and Crude Oil Import from Iran: What Was Discussed?
On India's oil import from Iran and its plan to buy a batch of S-400 air defence missile from Russia, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists travelling with him that Washington's intention is not to "penalise great strategic partners like India."
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil. It has also put restrictions on military purchase from Russia.
"The sanctions aren't intended to adversely impact countries like India. They are intended to have an impact on the sanctioned country, which is Russia," he said on India's plan to procure missiles from Russia.
During the talks, India has conveyed to the US about its reliance on the Iranian crude oil to meet the country's energy requirement to which the US side conveyed that both sides will remain engaged on the issue, sources said.
We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on 4 November, the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced. We will consider waivers where appropriate, but that it is our expectation that the purchases of Iranian crude oil will go to zero from every country, or sanctions will be imposed.Mike Pompeo, as quoted by PTI
On procurement of S-400, sources said the US told India that it understands the decades-old Indo-Russia defence and military cooperation. "The US delegation assured India that its ties with Russia will not impact the long term Indo-US strategic cooperation," a source said.
Sources said India also explained strategic importance of New Delhi's involvement in the Chabahar port project in sanction-hit Iran to the US, particularly for trade with Afghanistan and the US concurred with the view. The ports in Iran are also coming under US sanctions.
James Mattis and Mike Pompeo Call on PM Modi
United States Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman jointly called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the 2+2 dialogue.
They conveyed greetings of (US) President (Donald) Trump to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister fondly recalled his interactions with President Trump and requested Secretaries to convey his greetings to him.Statement by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)
According to the statement, Pompeo and Mattis briefed Modi on the fruitful and productive 2+2 dialogue held earlier in the day.
Modi congratulated both the Secretaries and their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman, for holding of the first 2+2 dialogue.
India-US Sign COMCASA
India and the US inked a long-negotiated pact under which critical and encrypted defence technologies will be provided to the Indian military by the Americans.
The 'Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA)' was signed after the first two-plus-two talks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
The COMCASA will facilitate India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US, and access critical communication network to ensure interoperability among the US and the Indian armed forces.
It will also allow the installation of high-security US communication equipment on defence platforms being sourced from the US, officials said.
2+2 Dialogue: Indo-US Joint Statement
Addressing the media after the 2+2 dialogue, EAM Sushma Swaraj said, “We agreed on working together towards entry of India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
Swaraj also mentioned that the H1-B visa issue was also discussed during the 2+2 talks and India has appealed to the US to keep this a high-priority issue.
Talking about Trump’s policy on Afghanistan, Swaraj also said, “We welcome President Trump's policy on Afghanistan. We are working together in the fight against terror.”
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and said that the agreement will enable India to access advanced technologies from USA.