Top US officials to visit India for high-level bilateral dialogue

Two top Trump administration officials will be in New Delhi this week for talks with their Indian counterparts to improve bilateral ties and look into further areas of cooperation, including a visit by President Donald Trump, possibly in January, as the chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day parade.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with Defence Secretary James Mattis, will hold “two-plus-two talks” on Thursday with their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This will be the first such two-plus-two talks.

The United States has called the meeting “a major opportunity” to enhance ties, with both sides expected to discuss all key defence and strategic issues.

These include cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and the finalisation of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, or Comcasa, a legal agreement that would facilitate the transfer of high-tech communications security equipment.

Ties between India and the US have remained firm on the back of mutual concerns about the rise of China. Both have grown closer through greater military engagement and have pledged to work closely in the Asia-Pacific region.