United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Tuesday said the first 2+2 dialogue between the US and India was a “defining moment” and that the defence co-operation between the two countries is on the right track.

“Last week I did go to India for what could only be considered highly successful consultations between the world’s two largest democracies,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “There was no difficulties that we uncovered there in moving forward on a number of pragmatic steps to draw ourselves closer together in terms of security.”

Mattis termed it a “historic, heartening trip” and that the two countries have grown “closer and closer together” over the years. He said the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, which allows India to receive advanced US military hardware, opens many doors in “terms of defence cooperation”.

An unidentified spokesperson for the State department told PTI that the 2+2 dialogue was “a historic milestone in the US-India relationship”. The meeting was “an indication of the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India, and India’s emergence as a global power and net security provider in the region”.

“Both sides committed to further expanding and balancing the trade and economic partnership consistent with their leaders’ 2017 joint statement, including by facilitating trade, improving market access and addressing issues of interest to both sides,” the spokesperson said.

India and the US conducted their first edition of the “2+2 dialogue” in New Delhi on September 6. Mattis and US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo discussed strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman.