Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday held meetings with their American counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo. Issues of mutual and regional interests were discussed at these meetings.
Singh is on his maiden visit to the US as Defence Minister and was given a 21 gun salute at the River Side entrance of the Pentagon, followed by a one-on-one meeting with Esper.
The leaders discussed issues related to strengthening defence ties and issues of mutual interest and concerns, including the neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific region.
India and the US also signed a defence agreement called the Industrial Security Annex or ISA, which allows the US to share sensitive information with private Indian entities on military hardware. The ISA will pave the way for joint production of military equipment.
“We have agreed to move forward in our engagement in the area of defense innovation. The 2+2 meeting today is a cornerstone in strengthening the strategic defense engagement between India and U.S. and will enable us to work alongside in a number of areas of mutual interest,” said Singh.
Meanwhile, at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Jaishankar and Pompeo also held a one-on-one meeting discussing bilateral and regional issues.
The US Secretary of State was also asked about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, over which the US has raised concerns, to which he replied, "We care deeply and always will about protecting minorities and religious rights everywhere. We honour Indian democracy as they have a robust debate on the issue that you raised."
This was the second 2+2 meeting between Indian and US officials. The first such dialogue was held in Delhi in September last year.