indica New Bureau
Indian and US defense and diplomatic officials have scheduled two meetings this week, the US State Department announced, in talks aimed at strengthening strategic cooperation and building on the shared vision for the Indo-Pacific region, according to an IANS report.
US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver will meet Thursday meet their Indian counterparts in Monterey, California, for an Intersessional Meeting of the US-India 2+2 Dialogue of defense and foreign affairs officials, IANS reported.
“During the Intersessional, the two sides will discuss ways to advance cooperation on critical diplomatic and security priorities, including our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and review preparations for the next 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue,” the US State Department said on Wednesday.
The first 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue of the foreign affairs and defense cabinet officials of the two countries took place in India last year with the participation of the late Sushma Swaraj, who was the External Affairs Minister, Nirmala Seetharaman, the then-Defense Minister, from the India side and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis representing the US.
The next dialogue at the cabinet-level is expected to take place in the US, IANS reported.
On Friday, the two US officials are to hold the fourth US-India Maritime Security Dialogue, with Indian officials, the State Department announced. At the meeting, “the two sides will exchange views on maritime developments in the Indo-Pacific region and consider steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation,” the department said.
The maritime dialogue was set up by the late Manohar Parrikar when he was the Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to enhance strategic cooperation between the two countries. The first dialogue was held in India in 2016 as was the third, according to the IANS report.