“The agenda will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation and to follow on with what had transpired during the meeting with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis,” IANS quoted her as saying.
She also said that India would go ahead with the S-400 Triumf air defence missile deal with Russia despite Washington’s sanctions on Moscow, PTI reported. She said the sanctions had been imposed through an American law and not the United Nations.
“Our defence relation with Russia has endured several decades and we have conveyed about it to a US Congressional delegation which visited India recently,” Sitharaman said, adding that negotiations with Russia for the deal had almost come to a conclusion.
Last month, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to express disappointment that the “2+2 dialogue” had to be postponed due to “unavoidable reasons”. Swaraj and Sitharaman were scheduled to travel to the United States to take part in the first such dialogue on July 6, with Mattis and Pompeo.
On June 29, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “knows exactly why” Washington postponed the dialogue. Haley said the decision had nothing to do with India and that the United States considers bilateral ties to be at its strongest.
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 Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new secretary of state. The US Senate confirmed Pompeo’s appointment in April.