The Sept. 6 “two-plus-two” dialogue in New Delhi between Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and their Indian counterparts provided “a demonstrable signal of the U.S. and India’s shared commitment to a forward-looking strategic partnership based on shared values and strategic interests,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hosted Pompeo and Mattis for the first such talks between the United States and India.
“Both sides welcomed the signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, an agreement that will deepen our interoperability and facilitate India’s access to advanced defense systems,” White said in a statement summarizing the talks. “They also look forward to initiating negotiations on the Industrial Security Annex, a second enabling agreement that will facilitate greater defense industrial cooperation.”
The United States reaffirmed the strategic importance of India’s designation as a major defense partner, and the ministers committed to expanding the scope of that status to encompass greater strategic and security coordination, White said. They also welcomed the establishment of a new tri-service military exercise as a tangible commitment to increase military-to-military ties and growing interoperability, she added.
Importance of Defense Trade and Innovation
“Both sides acknowledged the increasing importance of defense trade and defense innovation in our strategic partnership,” White said. “Towards that end, the ministers welcomed the signing of a memorandum of intent between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence.”
The ministers also committed to start exchanges between U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Indian navy, underscoring the importance of deepening their maritime cooperation in the western Indian Ocean, White said.