It is astonishing and equally a proud moment for India to see two of its women representing the country at the international platform while the hailing US comes with two men in front.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held the first high-level two-plus-two talks with their US counterparts Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis, with boosting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and finalising a pact on encrypted defence technologies high on the agenda.
In her opening remarks, Swaraj said she was confident that the outcome of the talks will help unleash the untapped potential of the relationship between the two nations and further elevate the level of engagement. In his remarks, Pompeo said both sides should continue to ensure freedom of the seas and work towards peaceful resolutions of maritime disputes. He also stressed promoting market-based economics and good governance.
Both the India and US have been keen to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which has now opened up the way for sales of advanced American military hardware.
“This meet was a focus on regional stability in South Asia, South-East Asia and Indo-Pacific… India being a part of groups like the ASEAN also help greatly in this endeavour,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said. “In today’s meet we have agreed to speed up the process of India’s entry into the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group),” Ms Swaraj said.
The experts believe that the world’s two largest democracies have drawn closer in recent years, seeking ways to counter-balance China’s spreading influence across Asia, notably in Pakistan, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.