India signs landmark defence pact with U.S.

India to go ahead with S-400 deal with Russia despite threat of US sanctions – reports

India to go ahead with S-400 deal with Russia despite threat of US sanctions – reports

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hand with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj before a meeting in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Top Indian and U.S. officials on Thursday touted deepening ties that will see greater cooperation between the two countries' militaries and will likely result in India buying more American arms.

"India's compulsions lie in its own interests to maintain important ties with Moscow and Tehran, as well as build its ties with the US".

They held talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and senior officials. The exercise will involve sea, land, and air forces. In a first, the two nations also chose to conduct a tri-services joint exercise off the eastern coast of India in 2019.

Last October, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a major policy speech on U.S. -India ties and the critical role India would play in the Trump administration's new Indo-Pacific strategy.

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"It is essential that it devote sufficient time and consistent effort towards anticipating problems and implementing an overall strategy that helps deepen this growing relationship and facilitate abiding trust moving forward", he said.

Reflecting growing congruence in ties, India and the US Thursday signed a landmark security pact COMCASA, made a decision to set up hotlines between their defence and foreign ministers.

Known as COMCASA, this deal will allow the two countries to exchange sensitive military information quickly and securely. The two countries are also discussing the possibility of bringing another resolution at the United Nations for a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. In 2016, the United States had designated India as a major defence partner after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met US President Donald Trump. Under current United States rules, third countries could face sanctions if they transact with Russian defence or intelligence sectors.

Last week, a top USA government official warned India that Washington can not guarantee New Delhi a special waiver from sanctions if it buys new weapons platforms from Moscow.

Russian military hardware accounted for 62 percent of India's total weapons imports during the past five years, the Stockholm Peace Research Institute said in a report this year.

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"We remember those lives lost as we approach the 10th anniversary of attacks this November", he said.Pompeo said the two sides committed to deepen their "already-strong" counter terror cooperation. 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.

Pompeo denied he had anything to do with the letter.

"We're asking all of our partners, not just India, to reduce to zero oil imports from Iran and so I'm confident that will be part of our conversation with India", the official told reporters accompanying Pompeo.

India however is highly reliant on Iranian crude imports. It is a clear demonstration the United States places, in terms of priority, of the relationship between the United States and India.

Felter said the issue of a potential S-400 purchase by India did not come up during talks.

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