Press Statement by Raksha Mantri Shri Raj Nath Singh following India- USA 2+2 Meeting in New Delhi on 27 October 2020

Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Esper, Dr Jaishankar, Members of Press, Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the Secretaries, their delegations and all members of US media who have travelled to India to meet us amidst the threat of Covid-19 pandemic. I deeply appreciate your commitment to our bilateral relations.

During the meeting today, we have had comprehensive discussions on key aspects of our bilateral and multilateral cooperation. We considered the major challenges we face. The need for quick economic recovery and growth, prevention of the Pandemic, rebuild the global supply chains and related issues received obvious priority in our discussions.

I met Dr Esper yesterday to discuss bilateral defence issues. We continued our discussions on larger regional and global perspective today over the 2+2.

Signing of Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation, BECA, today after signing of  LEMOA in 2016 and COMCASA in 2018 is a significant achievement in that direction.

I would also like to highlight some of the other noteworthy steps taken by both India and US in follow up to our earlier discussions. These include Positioning a USN LO at IFC-IOR and Indian LO at NAVCENT, Bahrain; greater interaction and coordination with CENTCOM and AFRICOM; setting up of the COMSEC account and increasing the scope and complexities of our exercises. Now LO’s at each other’s establishments could be leveraged to enhance our information sharing architecture. To sum it up, our military to military cooperation is progressing well.

In today’s meeting we also explored probable capacity building and other joint cooperation activities in third countries, including our neighbourhood and beyond. We have convergence of views on a number of such proposals and will take those forward.

I welcome the acceptance of our request for cooperation in the advanced field of maritime domain awareness. Both sides agreed to comprehend the requirements and initiate processes for joint development of requisite systems and expertise.

In the Defence Industrial Cooperation area, we had a very candid and useful discussion. Recent initiative of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in Defence sector was underlined as a key driver and a guiding factor of our Defence Industrial Cooperation. I highlighted the capabilities of Indian Defence Industry and their usefulness in the supply chain of major US platforms and systems. We have identified priority Near-Term projects for joint development between respective agencies, which need to be fast tacked under the DTTI and resolved to work together in Defence R&D more efficiently.

Defence Innovation field has being growing consistently in our discussions in recent years, The instruments of ISA and iDEX/DIU MOl, which were agreed upon and signed during our last 2+2 meetings, are beginning to bear fruit. We welcomed holding of the inaugural meeting of iDEX-DIU in July 2020 through Video Conferencing and are looking forward to the first ISA Summit this year.

In our meeting, we shared assessment of the security situation across the Indo Pacific. In that process, we reaffirmed our commitment to peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in this region. We also agreed that upholding the rules based international order, respecting the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the international seas and upholding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states are essential. Our defence cooperation is intended to further these objectives. Both sides welcomed Australia joining the forthcoming Malabar Exercise.

We appreciate the visit of Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Esper to India. We had a very constructive dialogue and will continue to work together to strengthen our engagement in defence security and other areas.