Second 2+2 dialogue: India, US agree to expand bilateral ties

PTI Washington | Updated on December 19, 2019 Published on December 19, 2019

(From left) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh; External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday   -  Jose Luis Magana

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar makes a pitch for granting more H-1B visas to Indians

India and the US have agreed to deepen their bilateral cooperation in areas of defence, counter-terrorism and trade, and to work with like-minded countries for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The decisions were taken at the second India-US 2+2 dialogue that concluded here. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper hosted their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the dialogue at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

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 Donald Trump. In the second such dialogue, India and the US agreed to further expand their defence ties.

Singh told reporters here that strong 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 said.

“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.

Singh said India shared its assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Indian Ocean region in general. “We conveyed that the extreme rhetoric and belligerent statements and incitement to anti-Indian violence by Pakistani leaders is not conducive to peace,” he said.

Secretary Pompeo, during a joint news conference in the presence of the other three leaders, spoke about cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

“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,” he said.

Pitching strongly for issuing H-1B visas to Indians, Jaishankar reiterated the significant contribution made by movement of persons in a fair and non-discriminatory manner to the deepening of bilateral ties between India and the US.

“Trade and services, including the movement of persons in a fair and non-discriminate discriminatory manner has contributed significantly to the deepening of ties,” Jaishankar said. He also praised Pompeo for reiterating the US governments support to the Chhabahar project, which he said will immensely benefit Afghanistan.

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Published on December 19, 2019
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