The first US-India ‘2+2 dialogue’ will be held on September 6 in New Delhi, the State Department announced Friday, according to PTI. The announcement comes a month after the US postponed the dialogue — which was supposed to be held in Washington — due to “unavoidable reasons”.
“The United States is pleased to announce that the inaugural US-India ‘2+2 dialogue’ will be held in New Delhi, India, on September 6,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. He also informed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis would be traveling to India for the much-awaited dialogue.
“Pompeo and Mattis look forward to meeting with their Indian counterparts, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, to discuss strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation as the US and India jointly address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” PTI quoted Nauert as saying.
The announcement of the ‘two-plus-two dialogue’ comes amidst prospects of India being imposed with unintended sanctions that are targeted at Iran and Russia.
Swaraj and Sitharaman were slated to visit Washington for the first ‘2+2 dialogue’ on July 6 with Pompeo and Mattis. The meeting was earlier scheduled for April this year but was put off after Trump fired then secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
Meanwhile, on July 9, India declined an offer from the US for talks between Nirmala Sitharaman and Jim Mattis in lieu of the ‘2-by-2’ dialogue between India’s foreign and defence ministers and US secretaries of state and defence.
US and India had in August 2017 announced the ‘2+2 dialogue’ after a telephone call between PM Modi and President Trump, which focussed on “strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation”. After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.