US Defence Secy Jim Mattis, Secy Of State Mike Pompeo Arrive For Inaugural US-India 2+2 Dialogue

| September 6 , 2018 , 15:15 IST

The inaugural 2+2 dialogue between the US and India is set to begin on Thursday, for which US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday. The Russian defence deal and Iran oil imports are among the topics expected to be discussed during the dialogue. 

The dialogue will be conducted between Mattis and Pompeo and their Indian counterparts Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and strategic, security, and defense cooperation is expected to be discussed during the 2-day dialogue.

Mattis on Wednesday indicated that he is ready to discuss "anything" during the 2+2 dialogue and expected that the issue of India purchasing the S-400 missile system from Russia would be brought up.

"Certainly, the S-400s will probably be brought up. I anticipate it'll be brought up by India, by the way," Mattis told reporters travelling with him to India.

ALSO READ: First US-India 2+2 Dialogue To Take Place On September 6 In New Delhi, Confirms US

"We will discuss anything that they bring up, and certainly, there'll be issues we bring up," he said.

Regarding the S-400 Russian missile defense system, which the US had earlier discouraged India from purchasing, Mattis said that at times nations did not agree with each other.

"That doesn't mean we can't be partners. That doesn't mean we don't respect the sovereignty of those nations. So I'm sure it will come up there, but it's right that I not speak here before I've even heard their point. So first, I want to listen to my counterpart," he said.

The US Defence Secretary further said that India and the US had been discussing how they can communicate back and forth more openly.

"Because of the sensitivity of some of the technology, we have to know that when we share this with another like-minded nation, that we can keep it secure, just like we do when the Navy talks to the US Army. It no different," he said.

ALSO READ: US-India 2+2 Dialogue To Take Place In First Week of September: Defence Minister Sitharaman

"You maintain security over this kind of technology. We'll be talking to them about this. There's been a lot of work done by our staffs. They have their own processes for approval of something like this. We have ours. No two nations have exactly the same authority levels or organisations that have to check off - check the box, and also, we'll see where each other's at on that," he said.

India is also expected to discuss the issue of oil imports from Iran during the 2+2 dialogue. The US, after exiting from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and re-imposing sanctions on the nation had warned other nations against dealing with Iran, at the risk of facing sanctions from the US. Iran is currently India's second largest oil supplier, however, the US earlier asked India to reduce its oil imports from Iran down to zero by November, or else face sanctions.

The 2+2 is planned to replace the 'Strategic and Commercial Dialogue' between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries that was conducted during the previous Obama administration.