Amid Ukraine Row, India-US Prepare For 2+2 Face-Off

| Updated: 08 April, 2022 5:49 pm IST
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NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Washington DC to hold the fourth India-US 2+2 Dialogue with their US counterparts Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Llyod Austin on Monday, April 11.

The dialogue will span a range of issues of the partnership between the two countries and a discussion on ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. The dialogue takes places in New Delhi and Washington DC alternatively.

“It is also a chance to highlight the growing Major Defense Partnership between the United States and India,” the US Department of State said in a statement.

During his two-day stay till April 12, EAM Jaishankar will hold a separate meeting with Secretary Blinken and meet some other officials of the US administration to strengthen the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, the Ministry of External Affairs informed.

This is the first time that the Biden administration is holding this strategic exercise in Washington DC which coincides with the commemoration of the diamond jubilee of diplomatic ties between India and the US.

“The Dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security with the objective of providing strategic guidance and vision for further consolidating the relationship,” the MEA stated.

It further said, “The 2+2 Dialogue will also provide an opportunity to exchange views about important regional and global developments and how we can work together to address issues of common interest and concern.”

Experts opine that the dialogue, which is taking place in wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, is expected to see the announcement of measures for India to cut down its dependence on Russian military hardware.

“The 2+2 meeting is significant in terms of growing foreign policy and defence cooperation between India and the US. Indeed, this is happening in the background of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and India’s stand on the same. Yet it seems that greater sourcing of defence equipment from the US while further reducing dependence on Russia will be a likely outcome of the meeting,” said Arpit Chaturvedi, a policy analyst and former lecturer at San Francisco State University told The New Indian.

He further said, “From the perspective of foreign policy, I think the first half of the conflict saw India tilting towards Russia and in the second half, it will be seen tilting towards the US for various reasons.”

In the inaugural edition of the 2+2 dialogue with the US in 2018, both the partners inked a strategic pact Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement or COMCASA. In addition to her QUAD partners Australia, Japan and US, India exercises such strategic forum 2+2 dialogue with Russia as well.

Speaking to The New Indian, Professor Harsh V Pant of Kings College, London said that the forum will provide an opportunity to India and the US to work out some “evident difference” and take forward their relationship in defence and other areas.

“It’s very important for India and the US, especially at a time when differences are emerging on Ukraine. It will be an important opportunity for India and the US to get an assessment of the global order from each other and also to take relations forward on defence and foreign policy issues in a manner that response to the challenges that two nations are facing,” Pant said.

He further stated, “The 2+2 format underscores the partnership the US shares with very few countries. Despite some evident differences, it is an important indicator that two nations consider each other (important) for their national security imperatives.”

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