Do­val talks fu­ture di­rec­tion with US af­ter 2+2 suc­cess

NSA meets coun­ter­part along with Pom­peo, Mat­tis as both sides seek to build on strate­gic gains from ‘his­toric’ 2+2

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - News - Shishir Gupta and Yash­want Raj let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI/WASH­ING­TON: Na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor (NSA) Ajit Do­val held talks about the fu­ture of bi­lat­eral ties with the US in a string of meet­ings with top Amer­i­can of­fi­cials on Fri­day, in­clud­ing with his coun­ter­part John Bolton, as In­dia pressed its case for the pur­chase of Rus­sian-made S-400 mis­sile sys­tems.

In­dia con­veyed to the US that the in­tegrity of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary plat­forms in ser­vice with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and fu­ture ac­qui­si­tions will not be com­pro­mised if New Delhi goes ahead with the pur­chase, back­ing its case with tech­ni­cal ar­gu­ments.

The NSA trav­elled to Wash­ing­ton to con­vey Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s vi­sion of the fu­ture di­rec­tion of Indo-us ties. On the eve of the 2+2 di­a­logue, Modi shared his vi­sion with ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj, de­fence min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man and NSA Do­val.

Sithara­man is ex­pected to travel to Wash­ing­ton, af­ter Pres­i­dent Putin’s Oc­to­ber visit to In­dia, for a bi­lat­eral en­gage­ment with sec­re­tary Mat­tis. The dates of Sithara­man’s visit are be­ing worked out and she is ex­pected to travel to Wash­ing­ton not be­fore Novem­ber.

At Do­val’s meet­ings with the three US prin­ci­pals, the two coun­tries “re­viewed” the progress in ties and also looked at “re­gional and global de­vel­op­ments” in North Korea, China, Afghanistan, Pak­istan, West Asia and the Indo-pa­cific. In­dia and US are seek­ing con­ver­sion on their views on sta­bil­ity of Kabul regime with Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani ar­riv­ing in Delhi on Septem­ber 19.

It has been de­cided that the prin­ci­pals from In­dia and the US will bi­lat­er­ally en­gage with their coun­ter­parts apart from the 2+2 di­a­logue. Prior to NSA Do­val’s visit, a high-level Indian Air Force tech­ni­cal team led by an air mar­shal was in the Pen­tagon last month to con­vince US of­fi­cials of mea­sures In­dia will take to en­sure that elec­tronic sig­na­tures of US aerial plat­forms are not shared even if it ac­quires the S-400 sys­tem from Rus­sia.

The meet­ing with Bolton was Do­val’s first en­gage­ment and was de­scribed as a “good first meet­ing” by an of­fi­cial.

THE TWO SIDES ALSO LOOKED AT RE­GIONAL & GLOBAL DE­VEL­OP­MENTS IN NORTH KOREA, CHINA, AFGHANISTAN, PAK­ISTAN, WEST ASIA AND THE INDO­PA­CIFIC

Ajit Do­val

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