US, India to carry out large-scale joint military exercises in 2019

US puts pressure on Pakistan on behest of India, says Chinese scholar

US-India 2 plus 2 dialogue to take place on Thursday

The Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed between the two sides. In a message to China, Pompeo said, "We should continue to ensure freedom of the seas, skies, uphold the peaceful resolutions of the maritime disputes, promote market-based economics and good governance and prevent external economic coercion".

Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis also met PM Modi during their New Delhi visit.

"India's compulsions lie in its own interests to maintain important ties with Moscow and Tehran, as well as build its ties with the US".

"He has also valued the United States as an advocate for India's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, sought out access to cyber security cooperation to ensure progress in a growing e-commerce sector, acknowledged a growing reliance on the USA liquified natural gas to bring clean energy to an overly polluted country, and emphasized a mutual commitment to democratic values", Roemer wrote.

Once the communications accord is in place it could lead to the sale of an armed version of Guardian drones, as Washington has so far only authorised the sale of unarmed, surveillance versions of the aircraft. In a first, the two nations also chose to conduct a tri-services joint exercise off the eastern coast of India in 2019.

"The momentum in our defense partnership has imbued a tremendous positive energy that has elevated India-U.S. relations to unprecedented heights", Sitharaman said.

But now, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis in New Delhi this week for high-level talks with their Indian counterparts-the so-called two-plus-two ministerial dialogue-the relationship is adrift, weighed down by several disagreements and with little momentum toward that far-reaching strategic partnership.

The India-US "2+2" talks, called that because they include the top diplomatic and defence officials of both countries, had been postponed twice ─ the last time when Pompeo was dispatched in July for talks in North Korea.

The joint statement issued after the talks said that the strategic importance of India's designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States was reaffirmed during the talks. "Given those values, India and the United States have a natural starting point for advancing at free and open Indo-Pacific". On the eve of the talks, India approved the purchase of helicopters, howitzers and air defense missile systems worth around Rs 46,000 crore including 24 naval multi-role MH-60 "Romeo" choppers worth Rs 13,500 crore. Under current USA rules, third countries could face sanctions if they transact with Russian defence or intelligence sectors.

However, a new defense bill proposes giving the USA president authority to grant waivers when national security interests are at stake.

The 2+2 conference between India and USA in New Delhi on Thursday. Trump has warned that anyone trading with Iran would not do business with the United States.

India is Iran's top oil buyer after China, and it is seeking a waiver from the United States.

The US and India, he said, already have the foundation in their commitment to "a safe, secure prosperous and free Indo-Pacific region where sovereignty of all nations is respected, worldwide norms are upheld, disputes are resolved peacefully and nations freely transit global waters and airspace".

"In the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, we recognised the importance of justice and retribution for the masterminds behind this terrorist attack", she said.Sitharaman, in her remarks, said India and the U.S. were committed to work together to combat the "persistent threat of terrorism" and other shared security challenges.

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