India and the United States signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement on Thursday at the 2+2 Dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries. The agreement allows India to receive advanced US military hardware.
“The signing of Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement will enable India to access advanced technologies from the United States,” India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said after the dialogue in New Delhi, ANI reported.
Sitharaman said the two countries agreed to continue their cooperation against terrorism and other security challenges. “In today’s meeting, we reaffirmed to cooperate in every possible way to ensure peace, prosperity and development,” she added.
Sitharaman added that New Delhi and Washington have agreed to carry out a tri-Services joint exercise off the east coast of India in 2019. This is the first ever Indo-US exercise of its kind, NDTV reported.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the two countries agreed to speed up the process of India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. She added that India welcomes the United States’ designation of two commanders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba as global terrorists. “These listings are based on terrorism that is flourishing in Pakistan, which has equally affected India, US and the world,” Swaraj added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who represented the American side along with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, said they would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We [the 2+2 dialogue representatives] had many productive and forward thinking conversations on our bilateral relationship and our shared future,” he added.
US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said: “We will continue working together, join hands and expand India’s role as a primary major defence partner, to elevate our relationship to a level to commence with our closest allies and partners.”
Before leaving Washington on Tuesday, Pompeo had said the United States would discuss New Delhi’s purchase of Russian missile systems and Iranian crude oil during the dialogue but they will not be the primary focus. It is not known if these matters were discussed on Thursday.
The dialogue, which was supposed to be held earlier this year, was postponed twice.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu later said that India seeks US partnership to boost its bilateral trade from $125 billion to $500-600 billion, PTI reported. “We are willing to come out with complete strategy and am sure that companies from both countries will benefit,” he said at a US-India Business Council event in Mumbai.