NIR­MALA TO GET A HOT­LINE WITH MAT­TIS AS IN­DIA, US SCALE UP TIES

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Shishir Gupta let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com CON­TIN­UED ON P 6 TRUMP TO SIGN BILL, CAATSA WAIVER IN BAG FOR IN­DIA P17

NEWDELHI: In­dia and the US have agreed to set up a ded­i­cated hot­line be­tween their de­fence min­is­ters for real time com­mu­ni­ca­tion on global se­cu­rity is­sues and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the first and the fourth strong­est mil­i­taries in the world, ac­cord­ing to In­dian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter. An an­nounce­ment to this ef­fect is ex­pected on Septem­ber 6 dur­ing the so-called two-plus-two di­a­logue be­tween US sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo and de­fence sec­re­tary James Mat­tis with ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and de­fence min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man in New Delhi.

South Block sources said In­dia has agreed to a decade-long US pro­posal for a ded­i­cated line be­tween the de­fence lead­er­ship of the coun­tries. The ba­sic idea is to cut through bu­reau­cratic red tape and com­mu­ni­cate dis­creetly in mat­ters of bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral im­por­tance. With both the coun­tries in­ter­ested in the In­doPa­cific re­gion and hap­pen­ings in West Asia, the hot­line is ex­pected to en­sure co­gent re­sponse from the two ma­jor de­fence al­lies.

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