What is COMCASA? And how will it benefit India?

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The two sides also discussed the ongoing efforts by India and the USA in promoting an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan government-controlled reconciliation process, that brings together all ethnic groups and political formation in that country, the minister added. Sitharaman and Mattis signed the pact as two of the most powerful men in the world negotiated with two top women ministers of India. "Given those values, India and the United States have a natural starting point for advancing at free and open Indo-Pacific".

"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.

It will also allow the installation of high-security U.S. communication equipment on defence platforms being sourced from the US.

"There are very detailed conversations taking place between the U.S. and India on just the technical issues related to going to zero and those conversations will continue", the official added.

Sitharaman in her opening remarks said that defence cooperation established itself as one of the most significant dimensions of the countries' relationship.

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. And the S-400 never came up in private discussions with India's defense and external affairs ministers, said Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for South and Southeast Asia Joe Felter.

Randall Schriver, the Pentagon's senior official handling issues relating to Asia, said Thursday that the USA can not guarantee that India will be exempted from sanctions if it purchases weapons and defence systems from Russian Federation.

In 2016, Washington designated India as a "major defence partner", making it easier for the two countries to do arms deals.

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Iran reached a deal with originally six world powers in 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for mainly the lifting of restrictions on its oil sales.

"Recognizing their rapidly growing military-to-military ties, the two sides committed to the creation of a new, tri-services exercise and to further increase personnel exchanges between the two militaries and defense organizations", a joint statement from India and the U.S. said.

Iran is India's third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo, who is in Delhi with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for talks with their Indian counterparts, told reporters some buyers of Iranian oil would take a "a litle bit of time" to unwind their trade with Iran. The US' sanctions on import of Iranian petroleum products will be effective from November 4.

MEA Spokesperson Kumar called the meeting between Swaraj and Pompeo a "productive" engagement.

Recognising the importance and the potential for increasing bilateral trade, investment, innovation, and job creation in both countries, both sides committed to further expanding and balancing the trade and economic partnership consistent with their leaders' 2017 joint statement, including by facilitating trade, improving market access, and addressing issues of interest to both sides.

Mattis and Pompeo were due to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Thursday.

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