2+2 Ministerial Dialog reaffirms US-India strategic partnership

Reena Bharadwaj (ANI)–

Against the backdrop of a complex global landscape and at a time when the crisis in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict has taken center-stage, the 2+2 Ministerial Dialog and its timing reaffirms India and US Commitment to strengthening their strategic partnership. 

President and Chief Executive Officer of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) Mukesh Aghi told ANI that the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialog sends a message that the US-India relationship is very important and critical, and the two countries have to maintain the momentum going forward.

The India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialog “sends a message that the relationship between India and the US is very important, it’s very critical, and they have to maintain the momentum going forward.”

The USISPF president said India plays a pivotal role, especially in the Middle East. “Its relationship with Israel, its relationship with the UAE and India’s position supporting Israel while having 200 million Muslims in India,” he said.

He said the dialog “sends a clear message that India will play a much more pivotal role, especially in the Middle East, and can be a big partner of the United States and Israel and other countries in the region.”

The dialog will provide a platform for top-level discussions between the US and India, addressing critical bilateral and global matters, with special emphasis on developments unfolding in the Indo-Pacific region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in New Delhi on Friday to co-chair the dialog.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Blinken’s visit will give a further boost to the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

“A warm welcome to U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken as he arrives in New Delhi to co-chair the 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialog. The visit will give a further boost to the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership!,” Bagchi wrote on ‘X’.

Earlier on Thursday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also arrived in New Delhi for a two-day visit to attend the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialog.

Meanwhile, American diplomat Atul Keshap said the 2+2 Ministerial Dialog “is something we do with only our absolutely closest partners in the world and the fact that amidst these very troubling geostrategic times, the US and Indian foreign and defense ministers are making time to meet with one another is extremely important because what it says to the world is that the US and India are going to work together to limit these rising zones of instability, to try to work together to tamp down rising geostrategic tensions and that we will work together as trusted partners to ensure the prosperity and happiness of the Indo Pacific, of our own two countries and of the entire world.”

Keshap currently serves at the US Chamber of Commerce as President of the United States India Business Council.

He said: “So I look back 20 years and I always marvel at how far we’ve come. Last night I was at the Vice President of the United States’ Diwali Party, and her house was full of Indian Americans who have achieved amazing things in all walks of life around the United States. That was not something I could have even dreamed of when I joined federal service back in 1994.”

“We have come so far, not only the Indian American community in this country but US-India relations. The fact that we have a two plus two with India was only a dream when I worked at the embassy in India in 2005, 2006,” he added.

US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said: “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are visiting New Delhi as part of ‘2+2’ Security Dialog. Deepening our security cooperation will be the topic that will be part of the discussion by both secretaries and their Indian counterparts. I have no doubt that cooperation in counter-terrorism is something that will come up.”

The US Principal Deputy Spokesperson earlier said: “India is a country that we have a deep partnership with. He (Blinken) will be going for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialog along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin. So I expect, of course, that deepening this security cooperation in partnership, will be, one of the many topics that are discussed.”

Blinken and Austin will meet with their Indian counterparts, Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar and Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, as well as other senior officials.

The discussions are expected to encompass a wide spectrum of issues, including strengthening bilateral relations, addressing global concerns, and promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. “The Secretary will travel to New Delhi to participate in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialog, joined by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III. The delegation will meet with Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, and other senior Indian officials to discuss both bilateral and global concerns and developments in the Indo-Pacific,” read an official statement by the US State Department.

The 2+2 Ministerial Dialog is a diplomatic summit held every year since 2018, with the Minister of External Affairs and the Defense Minister representing India and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense representing the United States.

The discussions centre on common issues of concern between the two countries.

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