Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will travel to the United States next month to take part in the first India-US “2+2 dialogue”. The meeting will be held on July 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
They will discuss with their counterparts Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis the ways in which strategic and defence ties can be strengthened.
The two sides agreed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington DC in June 2017 to hold discussions in this new format.
The dialogue was supposed to be held earlier this year but was postponed because of uncertainty over the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new secretary of state. The US confirmed Pompeo’s appointment in April.
The United States Senate on Tuesday passed a $716 billion (Rs 48 lakh crore) defence bill which, among other things, seeks to strengthen Washington’s defence partnership with New Delhi. The US designated India as a “Major Defence Partner” in 2016, which permits India to buy advanced and sensitive technologies from Washington.
Last week, the US State Department approved a deal to sell the Indian military six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for around $930 million (Rs 6,287 crore). The agreement is yet to be approved by the Congress.