Indo-US Defence Cooperation: At a time when the relations between India and Pakistan have soured over India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu & Kashmir under the Indian Constitution, in a significant development, defence minister Rajnath Singh called US secretary of defence to discuss a range of issues. Rajnath Singh also told his US counterpart that scrapping the article 370 was India’s internal matter.
Rajnath Singh congratulated his American counterpart on his appointment and vowed to deepen the defence ties between the two largest democracies of the world.
“Both leaders express happiness at the progress in defence relations and vowed to further strengthen the ties,” said the ministry of defence in a statement.
Both the Ministers expressed happiness at the significant progress in bilateral defence co-operation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and deepen the relations further.
“They exchanged views on a range of issues related to military-to-military co-operation, defence policy, R&D co-operation, defence trade, technology and industrial co-operation. They expressed satisfaction on the first tri-service joint exercise planned for later this year and steps taken to operationalize agreements like LEMOA and COMCASA,” said the ministry of defence.
Indian defence minister also invited the U.S. companies to invest in the Indian defence manufacturing sector under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
During the conversation with his US counterpart, defence minister Rajnath Singh also raised the issue of cross-border terrorism affecting India and appreciated U.S. support for India’s effort to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Mark T Esper that issues relating to Article 370 are an internal matter of India which are aimed at improving growth and economic development, democracy and prosperity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
U.S. Secretary of Defence appreciated India’s position that the recent developments in Jammu & Kashmir are an internal matter of India. He hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally.
Both the Ministers are expected to take part in the 2+2 dialogue later this year in the U.S. Under the mechanism, defence and foreign ministers of both the countries hold a combined meeting once a year to discuss the important issues.