Holding of third 2+2 dialogue demonstrates India-US commitment to diplomatic, security objectives: State Dept

The holding of third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates the high-level commitment the two countries give to shared diplomatic and security objectives, US State Department said as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense, Mark T Esper, boarded the flight for India.

During their visit to India, Pompeo and Esper will meet with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

US Secretary of State will also meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold discussions with other government and business leaders on ways to advance the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.

Taking to Twitter, Pompeo said, “Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations.”

Pompeo’s visit marks the fourth visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Trump administration.

The State Department, in a statement, said that the two countries have a strong and growing bilateral relationship built on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India enjoy deeply rooted democratic traditions. The growth in the partnership reflects a deepening strategic convergence on a range of issues,” the statement read.

“Our cooperation is expanding in important areas including health, infrastructure development, energy, aviation, science, and space. Holding the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates a high-level commitment to our shared diplomatic and security objectives,” it added.

As outlined in US National Security Strategy, the State Department said that Washington welcomes New Delhi’s emergence as a leading regional and global power. The United States looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Pompeo recently met Jaishankar during the Quadrilateral meeting in Tokyo. The State Department said that the Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting convened by the US Secretary of State and his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia, “demonstrated the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous”.

“The Quad has proven to be an effective multilateral mechanism, helping to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency, counter disinformation, and increase maritime security,” the statement read.

“India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world’s leading economic powers and is well-positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper,” it added.

The State Department said that India and the US are expanding cooperation between the armies of two countries. The US and India enjoy robust defense industrial cooperation. Through the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, both the nations work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment, the department said.

In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the US Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region.

In 2019, the US and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the US Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army participated in a bilateral exercise with their Indian counterparts. The United States welcomes Australia joining the Malabar naval exercise alongside India and Japan.

“Defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades. India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States, and as of 2020 the United States has authorised more than $20 billion in defense sales to India,” the State Department said.

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