In a major strategic achievement, India signs the second defence foundational pact with the US — the Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) in New Delhi on Thursday. The pact will enable Indian military to obtain critical, secure and encrypted defence technologies from the other countries.
First-ever India-United States 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was held in the national capital on Thursday. The meeting is being seen as a reflection of the shared commitment of India and U.S. to provide a positive, forward-looking vision to the strategic partnership and growing convergence on important issues between two countries.
MEA Sushma Swaraj raises the issue of H1B visa
MEA Sushma swaraj raised the issue of H1B visa for Indians at the 2+2 dialogue with her couterpart Mike Pompeo. She said that the issue is an important one and conveyed to the US authorities that India expects a balanced view on the matter.
Sushma swaraj also reiterated India’s commitment in the fight against terrorism and welcomed the action US has taken, particularly against terror groups active in Pakistan including LeT.
Swaraj also welcomed the efforts both countries are making to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indo pacific region.
Dialogue truly historic, important: US secretary of state
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo termed the dialogue as truly historic and important. He said that the discussions also focused on the efforts of ensuring free and open Indopacific.
Most productive & positive meeting: Nirmala Sitharaman
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it was the most productive and positive meeting. She reiterated India’s commitment to combat the threat of terrorism together.
She said that the most significant aspect of the talks were the deepening defense relationships. She also said that the two nations will engage in a first-ever tri-services exercise in 2019 off the eastern coast of India.
She also welcomed the signing of the ‘Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement or the COMCASA after the first two-plus-two talks.
COMCAST will facilitate India to obtain critical defense technologies from the US, and access critical communication network to ensure interoperability between the US and the Indian armed forces.
US Defense Secretary favors Sitharaman’s views
Sitharaman’s views were supported by US secretary for defense James Mattis. Calling India a stabilizing force in Indo Pacific, matters termed the signing of COMCAST as a significant step.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held separate bilateral talks with their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and James Mattis before the 2 + 2 dialogue.
The leaders discussed various issues of mutual interest during the talks. The four leaders will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening.