Do­val talks...

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION -

In­dia’s has cited its 70-year his­tory of mil­i­tary hard­ware ac­qui­si­tions from Rus­sia. More than 64% of Indian mil­i­tary in­ven­tory is from Rus­sia.

The NSA trav­elled to the US ahead of a visit next month to In­dia by Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and a pos­si­ble deal on S-400 mis­sile sys­tem on Oc­to­ber 5.

A waiver of CAATSA by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is es­sen­tial be­cause, in its absence, US de­fence con­trac­tors such as Lock­heed Martin, Boe­ing, Raytheon and Sirko­rsky, which are sup­ply­ing crit­i­cal equip­ment to In­dia like the C-17, C-130 J trans­port air­craft, Apache and Chi­nook he­li­copters, will come un­der sanc­tions.

Both sides have de­scribed the 2+2 in glow­ing terms as “his­toric” and not sim­ply be­cause it was the first meet­ing of the four prin­ci­pals in this for­mat, which the United States has with only its clos­est al­lies.

“Last week, I did go to In­dia for what could only be con­sid­ered highly suc­cess­ful con­sul­ta­tions be­tween the world’s two largest democ­ra­cies,” Mat­tis said to re­porters on his re­turn. “There (were) no dif­fi­cul­ties that we un­cov­ered there in mov­ing for­ward on a num­ber of prag­matic steps to draw our­selves closer to­gether in terms of se­cu­rity.”

And, he added: “It was a -- it was a very heart­en­ing trip, his­toric I’d even say” and “a defin­ing mo­ment for the re­la­tion­ship”.

The sec­re­tary of de­fense spe­cially men­tioned the sign­ing for COMCASA — Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­pat­i­bil­ity and Se­cu­rity Agree­ment — that al­lows In­dia ac­cess to all de­fense-re­lated US com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems, en­hanc­ing de­fense trade and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity be­tween the two mil­i­taries.

Indian am­bas­sador to the United States Navtej Sarna ac­com­pa­nied the NSA to th­ese meet­ings..

Bolton is Do­val’s third US coun­ter­part, fol­low­ing Michael Flynn and HR Mcmaster. The Indian NSA had had meet­ings with both Flynn and Mcmaster within days of their ap­point­ment re­spec­tively. Flynn didn’t last long enough in the job, but his suc­ces­sor, Mcmaster be­came the first se­nior-level Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial to visit In­dia, in April, 2017, just days af­ter his meet­ing with Do­val in Wash­ing­ton DC.

NSA Do­val’s vis­its to the US are gen­er­ally low-pro­file and nei­ther side has had much to say about them and, spe­cially, the specifics. There were no read­outs from In­dia or the United States about his three meet­ings on Fri­day, ex­cept a men­tion in the state de­part­ment’s pub­lic sched­ule of events and en­gage­ments — about his meet­ing with sec­re­tary Pom­peo.

While In­dia is all for en­gag­ing Rus­sia and China for bet­ter re­la­tions, it is clear in its mind that this will not be at the cost of In­dia-us deep ties or vice versa. Per­haps the S-400 will turn out to be a clas­sic ex­am­ple how close al­lies could han­dle tricky is­sues.

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