Joint statement on the inaugural India-U.S 2+2 Ministerial dialogue: Minister of External Affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Smt Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to India on September 6, 2018, for the inaugural India-U.S. Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue.
Celebrating over 70 years of diplomatic cooperation, the Ministers reaffirmed their view that India and the United States, as sovereign democracies founded on the values of freedom, justice, and commitment to the rule of law, must continue to lead global efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security.
Strengthening the Defense and Security Partnership:
- The Ministers welcomed the inclusion of India by the United States among the top tier of countries entitled to license-free exports, re-exports, and transfers under License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA-1) and committed to exploring other means to support further expansion in two-way trade in defense manufacturing supply chain linkages.
- They welcomed the signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), facilitate access to advanced defense systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing U.S. origin platforms.
- The Ministers announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would support closer defense industry cooperation and collaboration.
- After recognizing the recent bilateral engagements, the Ministers committed to starting exchanges between the S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Indian Navy, underscoring the importance of deepening their maritime cooperation in the western Indian Ocean.
- Through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), the ministers committed to prioritizing co-production and co-development projects to pursue other avenues of defense innovation cooperation. Further, they welcomed the conclusion of a Memorandum of Intent between the S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defense Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX).
- The Ministers announced to increase information-sharing efforts on known or suspected terrorists and to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2396 on returning foreign terrorist fighters.
Partners in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond:
- The Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan. The two sides expressed their support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
- India welcomed the recent U.S. – North Korea summit. The two sides pledged to work together to counter North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs and to hold accountable those countries that have supported them.
- The United States welcomed India’s accession to the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime and reiterated its full support for India’s immediate accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- Both countries committed to further expanding and balancing the trade and economic partnership consistent with their leaders’ 2017 joint statement, including by facilitating trade, improving market access, and addressing issues of interest to both sides.
- Thus, both sides welcomed the ongoing exchanges between the Ministry of Commerce of India and the Office of the United States Trade Representative and hoped for mutually acceptable outcomes.
- Both sides looked forward to full implementation of the civil nuclear energy partnership and collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company for the establishment of six nuclear power plants in India.
- Observing the strong ties of family, education, and business, and the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that unite their people, the Ministers highlighted the unmatched people-to-people ties between their countries and recognized the benefits to both nations and the world from these ties, including the free flow of ideas and collaboration in health, space, oceans, and other areas of science and technology.
- The next 2+2 meeting is to be held in the United States in 2019.