Now in India, US pursuing pressure campaign against Iran

US tries to seal new defence pact with India

USA secretary of defence James Mattis and U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Thursday.

To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization - Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX), which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

During a joint press conference after the talks concluded, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said maritime security had been a focus area of the India-US cooperation.

The drills would be a first of sorts the two countries' forces have not previously trained simultaneously in the air, on the land and at sea.

Pompeo and Mattis later met Modi, and the top USA diplomat conveyed Trump's support for "India's role as a leading global power and regional security provider", the State Department said.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said discussions were continuing on whether to grant India waivers from USA sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran, reported PTI. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis are holding long-delayed talks Thursday with top Indian officials, looking to shore up the alliance with one of Washington's top regional allies.

Both the Indian and US governments are keen to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which could open up the way for sales of more sensitive USA military equipment to India.

What are the benefits of signing COMCASA?

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India and the United States would continue discussions on New Delhi reducing oil imports from Iran, said people familiar with the developments.

In 2016, Washington designated India as a "major defence partner", making it easier for the two countries to do arms deals.

There are sticking points, however, including the purchase by India of Iranian oil and the Russian S-400 ground-to-air missile system, which could trigger US sanctions on India.

Raja Mohan downplayed reports in the US and Indian media that Trump has mimicked Modi's accent in meetings with his top officials.

The defence deal will enable India to optimally utilise all existing US-origin platforms such as C-17, C-130 and P-81. Thanks to the intense advocacy from the United States, 10 years ago today, the Nuclear Suppliers Group voted to allow India to trade in civil nuclear materials and technologies. It already has sold US Apache attack helicopters and other gear, and is negotiating to sell armed drones to India.

The United States has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russian Federation, under which any country engaged with its defence and intelligence sectors could face secondary USA sanctions.

Pompeo denied he had anything to do with the letter.

India however is highly reliant on Iranian crude imports. I note that over seven decades ago this week, the United States established diplomatic relations with India, prior to its formal Independence. The Trump administration has fumbled an opportunity to cultivate better ties with India, which has always been a tricky USA relationship. "And so very consistent what President Trump is seeking all around the world are the things we talked about with our Indian counterparts here today", Pompeo said in response to a question.

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