India, US seal defence pact

07 September, 2018, 11:25 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • US tries to seal new defence pact with India

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said discussions were continuing on whether to grant India waivers from U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran, reported PTI.

This handout photo, from India's Ministry of External Affairs, taken on September 6, 2018, shows US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (top-4-R) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (top-3-R) meeting with India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (4-L) alongside other delegates in New Delhi, India.

COMCASA opens the door for real-time strategic cooperation between New Delhi and Washington, especially at a time when both nations are wary of Beijing's growing belligerence in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in the maritime domain.

Following the "2+2" dialogue, which included Mattis" and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Indian counterparts, the two sides announced the signing of the COMCASA agreement, which Mattis said paved the way for sharing "sensitive technology' with India. The two sides welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on designation of terrorists in 2017 which, they said, is strengthening cooperation and action against terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, DCompany and their affiliates.

Europe, Russia, and China are now working with Iran to map out a potential course without the US.

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The Indian side is understood to have explained how important Iran was for India for meeting its oil and energy needs and its proposed deal with Russian Federation for purchasing S-400 Triumph missile defence systems that could attract sanctions against Indian entities under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

India welcomed the recent U.S.

In June 2016, the USA had designated India as "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

In his opening remarks for the dialogue, US Secretary of state Pompeo said that the two nations are "united by shared values of democracy, respect for individual rights and a shared commitment to freedom".

India is the world's third-biggest oil importer and Iran's second after China.

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New Delhi, one of the biggest buyers of Iranian crude, will have to find measures to nullify the effect of United States sanctions on Iran.

Last week, a top U.S. government official warned India that Washington can not guarantee New Delhi a special waiver from sanctions if it buys new weapons platforms from Moscow.

India's reluctance to disrupt its Iranian oil imports stems from mounting domestic pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi because of rising oil prices and a weakening rupee against the dollar - months away from a general election.

Pompeo arrived in India after a short trip in Pakistan, where he met Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Official sources here described the "reprimand" as one of the important takeaways from the meeting which saw India and the United States agreeing to further intensify counter-terror cooperation.

New Delhi has formerly said it will not comply with unilateral sanctions on Tehran. They are part of the relationship. "They will certainly come up, but I don't think they will be the primary focus", Pompeo told reporters earlier on Thursday.

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"India has been doing so till now, and it will manage similarly in the future", Joshi said.

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