The twice postponed two plus two dialogue between Indian and US foreign and defence ministers is expected to take place on September 6 with both countries seeking closure on New Delhi being accorded Strategic Trade Authorization Tier 1 status by the Trump administration so that the Indian military can get access to the latest defence technologies. India is currently on the STA-2 list where military exports to it are subject to national security control by the US Commerce Department.
Indian and US diplomats in New Delhi told HT that although a dialogue to invite the US President to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade next year has been initiated at the high level, no formal invite has been sent. Barack Obama was the chief guest in the 2016 parade. In line with the Modi government’s resolve to maintain close bipartisan ties with the US, there have been efforts to get a return visit of President Donald Trump to India this year but this didn’t happen due to his pre-occupation with North Korea, Russia and Iran.
Officials said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will meet their Indian counterparts Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman on September 6 to take bilateral relations to a new level and seek closure to key defence foundational agreements like COMCASA. The two sides will exchange notes on Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran with the US clearly interested in remaining in Kabul with an eye towards developments in Russia and China.
The two plus two dialogue will be focused on how India can get a waiver from the CATSA Act, which will hit Indian military imports from Russia and also the import of crude oil from Iran.