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
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