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Therefore, when India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meet their American counterparts, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on 6 September, they will be expected to dive into the specificities of what unites and divides the two countries on the strategic front. Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis are holding long-delayed talks Thursday with top Indian officials, looking to shore up the alliance with one of Washington's top regional allies.

The United States and India are engaged in "very detailed conversations" over Washington's request to completely stop India's oil imports from Iran, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Thursday.

"The ministers announced their intent to increase information-sharing efforts on known or suspected terrorists and to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2396 on returning foreign terrorist fighters", a joint statement issued after the talks said.

"And so we'll work our way through the waiver decision as the days and weeks proceed, and we'll do that alongside our partner, India, as well", he said.

But with trade and strategic ties growing quickly between the US and India, both countries have been eager to downplay potential diplomatic troubles.

During the first-ever 2+2 dialogue, both India and the USA agreed to work together to secure Nuclear Suppliers Group's membership for New Delhi at the earliest. "That doesn't mean we don't respect the sovereignty of those nations".

The American withdrawal has entailed not only the re-imposition of unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran but also the so-called secondary sanctions on third countries that would continue to do business with the Islamic Republic.

As an example, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced plans for the USA and India to hold major military drills next year.

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

Pompeo said that the U.S. wants to bridge the trade deficit with India, reported ANI.

Mattis and Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sithataman also met separately before joining the other two leaders.

Sitharaman said the COMCASA will enhance India's defence preparedness.

"We have acquired various advanced defense platforms from the U.S. We are thus partners in building defense capability in the broadest sense of the term", she said.

The defence and security cooperation between the U.S. and India is on an upswing in the last few months. She invited USA companies to become active partners in India's efforts to promote its local defense industry.

Mattis, meanwhile, said India is a "stabilizing force on the region's geographic frontlines".

But U.S. military sales to India have expanded rapidly - going from zero in 2008 to $15 billion this year.

He recalled Modi's words that nations should be free from impossible debt burdens caused by others.

India also plans to buy the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system, putting it at odds with US systems.

In May, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and said other countries, including India, must stop buying oil from Tehran before November 4 or face United States sanctions.

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

Most recently, the USA has taken issue with India's purchase of oil from Iran and its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system. "Many countries are in a place where they - it takes a little bit of time to unwind, and we'll work with them, I am sure, to find an outcome that makes sense", the top USA diplomat said.

None of the four officials who spoke to reporters after the summit but did not take questions mentioned whether the S-400 issue had come up. Modi "has seen a lot worse than people mocking his accent".


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