Ahead of the India-US ‘2+2’ dialogue, both the countries are working in tandem, diplomatically and militarily to build dimensions of the critical bilateral relationship, an official has said.
During a Congressional hearing, Principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, said that the US is looking forward to the “2+2” dialogue with India in New Delhi in September.
Wells added that she expected the dialogue to provide impetus to the bilateral relationship between both countries.
“On India, we’re looking ahead to the September 6 two-plus-two and the joining of forces between Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo and (Defence) Secretary (James) Mattis to help define what (is) major defence partnership,” Wells said, responding to a question from Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera.
“We’re working together hand in glove diplomatically and militarily to build out the dimensions of what Secretary Pompeo said is one of our most critical relationships,” she said.
The September meet will witness the first “two-plus-two” dialogue between India and the United States. US, last month had postponed the dialogue due to ‘unavoidable reasons’.
Hinting that the two countries are moving closer to signing the long-pending foundational agreements, Wells said, “We’re going to be able to demonstrate both in terms of the progress we make on the agreements we can reach that will make it easier for US to share classified information and undertake logistical activities together.”
The dialogue is expected to build foundation and give meaning to how major purchases and on-the-ground activities such as the Malabar Exercise can work together in order to secure the Indo-Pacific region, Wells said.
What is the two-plus-two dialogue?
The dialogue seen as a medium to elevate the strategic ties between both countries, was announced in 2017 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump. However, the dialogue has already been rescheduled at least twice since then.
The ‘2+2’ dialogue is a meeting between the India Ministers for External Affairs and Defence, and the US Secretaries of State and Defense. It is meant to replace the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries that was held during the previous Obama administration. It is to focus on “strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation” between the two countries.
At the ministerial level, this is the first time that India will be holding a ‘2+2’ dialogue with any country. At secretarial level, however, India has had similar ‘2+2’ dialogue with other countries.