Washington DC: Extreme rhetoric and belligerent statements and incitements to anti-India violence by Pakistani leaders are not conducive to peace, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.
"During the meeting (India-US 2+2), we shared our assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Indian Ocean region in general. We conveyed that the extreme rhetoric and belligerent statements and incitements to anti-India violence by Pakistani leaders are not conducive to peace," Singh said while addressing the joint press conference after the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
Expressing happiness at the conclusion of Industrial Security Annex (ISA), the Defence Minister said, "I am happy that we have been able to sign the Industrial Security Annex before the 2+2 Dialogue. We hope that this will enable the smooth transfer of classified technology and information between private entities of USA and India."
Stressing that today's 2+2 meeting was "meaningful and successful" in maintaining the momentum of the India-US relationship and taking it forward, Singh said, "Our two countries have complementary interests and I am grateful to the secretaries for welcoming us."
The Defence Minister informed that they held discussions on a range of bilateral and global issues, and that "it was heartening to note that as the world's largest democracies we have convergence on views on most of them.
"The cooperation will be critical to the security and management of the global commons," he said.
The Defence Minister stressed that their extensive engagement has yielded important results, and said, "We all noted with a great sense of satisfaction that we have been able to achieve important milestones that we had set during the inaugural 2+2 Dialogue last year."
"Some of these include setting up the hotline between me and the US Secretary of Defense, carrying out the first tri-service exercise, setting up a link between the NHQ and USINDOPACOM, posting an ELO at NAVCENT in Bahrain, enabling most of our US-origin platforms with secure communication capability, and conducting a defence policy group dialogue after a prolonged gap of almost four years," he added.
The Defence Minister noted that both India and the US have the vision of a "free, seamless, and peaceful Indo-Pacific" and said, "We feel that this provides an opportunity for India to work with the US. The announcement by our prime minister for Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative at the 14th East Asia Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019, is the next step to enunciation of our Indo-Pacific vision and creates an open platform where India and the US can come together and work on the areas of their choice, reflecting our fundamental vision for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific."
Talking about the military-to-military cooperation, the Defence Minister said it has expanded and military exercises have grown in size, scale, and complexity.
"We expressed our interest to expand the scope of MCG by the participation of senior officers from CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and Joint Staff from the US side. This is important since our geographical area of interest for our security is covered by CENTCOM and AFRICOM, and MCG is led by our joint services headquarter IDS," he said.
Singh said the two countries also evinced our interest in greater army-to-army cooperation and identified areas to deepen our engagement in this regard.
"Our maritime domain awareness cooperation has been extremely useful. We have sent an invitation to the United States to nominate a liaison officer for the international fusion centre in India," said the Defence Minister while adding that the two countries have also agreed to work together to operationalize COMCASA.
"On the defence industry side, I spelt out my priorities to take this partnership beyond the acquisition of platforms and equipment to a significant transfer of defence technology and increased investment by US defense companies in India under the 'Make in India' program," he said.
The Defence Minister stated that the two countries have also identified priority program, which can be selected and executed under the DTTI program.
"We have also identified a standard operating procedure for this process. We have invited U.S. companies to further invest in India under the 'Make in India' program," he said.
Singh said the 2+2 meeting today is a cornerstone in strengthening the strategic defence engagement between India and the US and will enable the two countries to work alongside in a number of areas of mutual interest.