India and the US held the first edition of the two-plus-two talks in New Delhi. The meeting was aimed at further strengthening bilateral defence and security collaboration as well as boosting their global strategic partnership, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held talks with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
According to US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, both sides should continue to ensure freedom of the seas and work towards peaceful resolutions of territorial and maritime disputes, seen as an oblique reference to China’s expansionist behaviour in the South China Sea. He also stressed on promoting market-based economics and good governance.
A raft of other important issues like US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil and India’s plan to buy a batch of S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia were discussed. In May, the US withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed the sanctions that had been suspended in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear programme. Iran is India’s third-largest oil supplier after Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Source- The Hindu Business Line