Washington. India and the United States have agreed to further deepen bilateral defence cooperation building on the discussions and outcomes of the ‘2 + 2 Dialogue’ held in New Delhi in September 2018.
The agreement to this effect came during a meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US counterpart Secretary of Defense James N Mattis.
It may be noted here that Sitharaman is on an official visit to the US from December 2-7 at the invitation of Secretary of Defense Mattis. US Defense Secretary Mattis also hosted a dinner in the honour of Defence Minister Sitharaman.
During their meeting, discussions were held on the growing partnership between India and US in the defence sphere. Views were also exchanged on a broad range of bilateral and international issues of mutual interest. The Ministers reviewed ongoing initiatives to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between India and US.
Prior to the meeting, on her arrival at the Pentagon, she was received by Secretary Mattis and was accorded the Armed Forces Enhanced Honours Cordon welcome.
Sitharaman highlighted the steps taken by Government of India to promote defence sector manufacturing under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ flag-ship programme.
Sitharaman visited the US Department of State on December 3, where she signed condolence book for former US President George HW Bush. She also paid respects at the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ by laying a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery Memorial.
Following her engagements in Washington DC, the Defence Minister would be visiting Reno on December 4, where she would hold interactions with select leaders of Indian community in the US.
Sitharaman would also visit San Francisco where she would address a roundtable meeting at Stanford. She will also visit the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) of the US Department of Defence and interact with start-ups and venture capitalists associated with this unit.
From December 5-7, the Defence Minister was scheduled to visit Honolulu, which is the headquarters of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) recently renamed as INDO-PACOM. She would hold meetings with Commander of INDO-PACOM Admiral Philip S Davidson and visit Joint Base Pearl Harbour Hickam, where she would board a US Guided Missile Destroyer and will be briefed on INDO-PACOM activities.