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At second 2+2 dialogue, India and US agree to expand bilateral strategic cooperation

"The content and quality of our discussions today will commensurate with and reflective of the broad expanse of our ties," Jaishankar was quoted as saying by PTI.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 19, 2019 6:17:49 pm
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, right, accompanied by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, second from left, and Defense Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, left, during a news conference after a bilateral meeting at the Department of State in Washington, Wednesday, Dec.18, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Agreeing to deepen strategic ties, India and the US have decided to work with like-minded countries to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, amidst China flexing its military muscles in the region.

The decisions were taken at the second India-US 2+2 dialogue between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the State Department on Wednesday amidst the historic impeachment vote against President Donald Trump.

The first 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi in September last year after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Trump.

“The content and quality of our discussions today will commensurate with and reflective of the broad expanse of our ties,” Jaishankar was quoted as saying by PTI.

“We reviewed ongoing cooperation in all areas of the interface of foreign policy and defence and outlined new priorities,” he added.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accompanied by External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar speaks during a news conference after a bilateral meeting the U.S. and India at the Department of State in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the strong Indo-US defence ties were an integral component of the strategic bilateral partnership. “In the last few years, we have made a conscious decision to diversify and indigenise our arms acquisitions. This increased defence trade with the US is one important aspect of this,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

“We are also working to encourage greater collaboration between defence manufacturing sectors in India in the US. The conclusion of the Industrial Security Annex with the US will provide the necessary framework for pursuing the co-development and co-production linkages in the defence manufacturing centre, Singh said.

Pakistan’s role in fomenting cross-border terrorism featured prominently during the talks. “We conveyed that the extreme rhetoric and belligerent statements and incitement to anti-Indian violence by Pakistani leaders is not conducive to peace,” Singh said.

Speaking about terrorism, Pompeo said, “We understand the concerns that India has, rightful concerns that they have about terrorism emanating from Pakistan, and we assured them that we would take that into account.”

“We are determined to protect the American people on the threat of terrorism, and we’re determined to work with our great democratic friends like the Indians to protect the people of India as well. And we’ll continue to work on it,” Pompeo added.a

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