The first so-called twoplus-two dialogue between India and the US will be held in April, and Pakistan, Afghanistan, an alternative to China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) plan, and arms purchases will be on the agenda, officials in Washington and New Delhi said.
According to the officials, none of whom wished to be identified, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet for a day with their counterparts in the US, secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defence secretary James Mattis on April 18 or April 19.
Washington is expected to confirm the date this week.
The officials maintained that New Delhi wants a “full defence package” from Washington, not piecemeal purchases.
India is expected to buy 22 Guardian maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles from the US on the condition that they will be weaponised and upgraded at a later stage.
India is looking at the latest Avenger UAVs which are weaponised.
“The Pentagon seems amenable to this step-by-step weaponization and this will come up for discussion at the 2-plus-2 dialogue,” said one of the officials.
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