Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Aug 20
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to US President Donald Trump, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of Defence, Dr Mark T Esper on Tuesday evening and spoke about the issue cross-border terrorism affecting India.
A statement of the Ministry of Defence said Rajnath Singh ‘appreciated US support’ for India’s effort to maintain peace and stability in the region. It said : “US Secretary of Defence appreciated India’s position that the recent developments in Jammu & Kashmir are an internal matter of India.”
Esper hoped that any issue between India and Pakistan will be resolved bilaterally.
Rajnath Singh had told his counterpart “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.”
The Indian Defence Minister invited US companies to invest in the Indian defence manufacturing sector under the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Both the Ministers expressed happiness at the significant progress in bilateral defence cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen and deepen the relations further. They exchanged views on a range of issues related to military-to-military cooperation, defence policy, research and development, defence trade, technology and industrial cooperation.
They expressed satisfaction on the first tri-service joint exercise planned for later this year and also steps taken to operationalise agreements like LEMOA and COMCASA – two military agreements. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) allows India to use US facilities for re-fuelling while the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) allows for platforms of both sides to talk to each other.
Both the Ministers said they looked forward to the 2+2 dialogue later this year in the US.