India, US seal defence pact

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The US data link is considered the most secure communication platform, which will also allow India access to big data base of American intelligence, including real-time imagery.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis held long-delayed talks on Thursday with top Indian officials, looking to shore up the alliance with one of Washington's top regional partners.

Ahead of his India visit, Pompeo also met new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday, saying he was hopeful of "a reset of relations". This is likely to find space in Thursday's talks, especially while addressing India's concerns on US support to bring proscribed terrorists like Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba to justice.

In a sign of New Delhi's desire to keep buying Iranian oil, Reuters reported this week that India had allowed its state refiners to use Tehran's tanker and insurance cover after western and Indian shippers started winding down their Iran operations ahead of the November 4 deadline.

Roemer, who was a top U.S. diplomat in the previous Obama administration, said it is a telling sign of how little the Trump administration has prioritised India that this critical relationship, where both sides stand to heavily benefit, is not moving steadily forward.

Another US official reportedly said that India's shopping list includes advanced drones, helicopters and fighter jets, including F-16 and F-18 aircraft to replace Russian models. 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.

"A decision has been take to establish a hotline between both the foreign ministers and defence ministers through which Secretary Pompeo and I, Secretary Mattis and Nirmala ji, will be able to stay in touch constantly", Ms Swaraj said.

"We talked about their new government, the opportunity to reset the relationship between our two countries across a broad spectrum - economic and business and commercial", Pompeo explained, adding that Washington desired improved ties in all aspects. They're going to buy more energy products from the United States. That figure now stands to increase, with the new agreement in place. The United States has emerged as India's second largest arms supplier, closing $15 billion worth of deals in the past decade.

"India has nearly concluded the S-400 missile deal with Russian Federation, and we are going ahead with it".

"The Ministers denounced any use of terrorist proxies in the region, and in this context, they called on Pakistan to ensure that the territory under its control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries", said the statement.

China has no plans to reduce Iranian oil imports and USA officials have suggested China could be the target of US sanctions as a result.

After the talks were over, a reporter asked Pompeo if he was involved in a scandal gripping Washington, after the New York Times reported an anonymous editorial penned by a Trump official that depicts the White House in a state of risky chaos. Later, Pompeo told reporters the United States was not seeking to punish India for its proposed purchase. Trump has warned that anyone trading with Iran would not do business with the United States.

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