India, one of the biggest US arms buyers, has been at odds with Washington recently over new USA sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation, two of its economic and regional partners. We also recognise the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, renaming US Pacific Command to the US Indo-Pacific Command.
Pompeo said on Tuesday the issues of Russian arms sales and Iranian oil "will certainly come up, but I don't think they will be the primary focus of what it is we are trying to accomplish here".
India has a $25 billion trade surplus with the United States, and to reduce that the Trump administration is reportedly pressing India to take more U.S. imports. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political and foreign-policy interests in deepening USA ties are clear.
"In the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, we recognised the importance of justice and retribution for the masterminds behind this terrorist attack", she said.Sitharaman, in her remarks, said India and the USA were committed to work together to combat the "persistent threat of terrorism" and other shared security challenges. "And we do not forget", he said.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has notably chose to purchase Russian-made S-400 missile systems, despite US opposition, a move that US Defense Secretary James Mattis downplayed on his way to India this week.
Pompeo and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met separately Thursday before joining top defense officials for talks.
The US has signed similar pacts with less than 30 other countries, the report added, citing a senior US defence official.
"The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India's designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States and commitment to expand the scope and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defense ties further", the joint statement said.
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The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade in nuclear technology and fissile materials.
The relentless manner in which Washington is putting in place the underpinnings of interoperability shows clearly where it wants to take the defining partnership. Other such deals can be expected during the dialogue, especially after the USA granted Strategic Trade Authorisation (STA-1) status to India.
"Today also marks another milestone for our relationship".
Seperately, Dunford said, "India is one of our premier security partners and an important and influential global leader. We are all, of course, looking for how can we enhance stability in South Asia", he said.
"We now look forward to what we can achieve over the next 10 years".
After the summit, Pompeo said it had been "pretty special, historic, a level of relationship that the two countries had not previously had".
The Trump administration recognises the opportunity to grow the US-India strategic partnership, deepen security relationship, broaden friendship and ensure a more safe, secure, prosperous and free Indo-Pacific region, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.
The Modi government's decision to ramp up the defence relationship with the United States is the new, big turn on India's foreign policy front in the wake of the historic 2+2 summit Thursday.