U.S., India seek to deepen defence ties and sign key accord

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Last night, while EAM Sushma Swaraj received the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the airport on his first visit to India, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went to receive her American counterpart James Mattis. Later, Pompeo told reporters the United States was not seeking to punish India for its proposed purchase.

"The Ministers welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on designation of terrorists in 2017, which is strengthening cooperation and action against terrorist groups, including Al-Qa'ida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, D-Company, and their affiliates", it added.

On the tenth anniversary of the Indo-US nuclear deal, India took another substantial leap into America's orbit by agreeing Thursday to have its military share communication and intelligence with the US defence forces.

A senior US State Department official, who was not named in reports, said on Thursday that American and Indian officials were engaged in "very detailed conversations" to persuade India to stop oil imports from the Islamic Republic.

To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization - Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX), which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

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From transport aircraft like C-17 Globemasters, to 28 AH-64E attack helicopters, 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and 24 MH-60 Romeo maritime helicopters, U.S. defence equipment is slowly replacing Russian defence equipment in India.

Creating greater maritime security, considering the ocean that the Indian subcontinent faces, that will be something that is in the best interest of all the nations of the world that want to increase prosperity and the free trafficking of goods, Mattis said.

Pompeo also said India had committed to purchasing more energy products and aircraft from the U.S.to reduce the trade deficit.

"We know the threats to stability that exist in the region, and the United States seeks to ensure that both of our peoples can live in peace and in freedom", Pompeo said.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has notably chose to purchase Russian-made S-400 missile systems, despite US opposition, a move that US Defense Secretary James Mattis downplayed on his way to India this week. He gave no assurances on a special visa regime for Indian migrants, either.

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She also noted that there was a growing convergence of views, including on the Indo-Pacific, during the discussion among the four ministers.

Felter said the issue of a potential S-400 purchase by India did not come up during talks. -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 Obama administration designated India as a major defense partner for the United States, and the Trump administration hopes to build upon that with the new agreement as China looms in the region.

The ministers committed to enhance their ongoing cooperation in multilateral fora such as the United Nations and Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and reaffirmed their support for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism, the joint statement said. "The two sides expressed support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process", it added.

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