India and US reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional stability and rule of law at the fourth 2 plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue held in Washington last night. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar led the Indian delegation.
The US delegation was led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The dialogue enabled both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to Foreign Policy, Defense and Security.
Addressing the media after the talks, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh thanked both the Secretaries and delegation for a great interaction and appreciated their commitment to India US bilateral relations. He said they had a meaningful talk which will help in maintaining and expanding India-US momentum. He said both nations have shared goals to achieve and it is great that the world’s two biggest democracies share same views on almost all world issues. During the meeting, they also discussed assessments of Indian Ocean region and its neighbours.
The Defence Minister said they also discussed about terrorism being used as an instrument of statecraft against India. He said India’s Department of Space and the US’s Dept of Defence have finished a ‘Space Situational Awareness’ agreement.
An agreement on Defence Space and Defence Artificial Intelligence dialogues has also been reached. He added that many other initiatives and agreements which are in the discussion phase have been agreed to be expanded for progress in the scope and depth of India – US military engagements.
The Defence Minister said during the pandemic, US government gave a lot of support to India. He said the defence bilateral and 2 plus 2 meeting between India and the US is very important to strengthen the strategic defence engagement. He said the 2 plus 2 Meeting will make India and US more capable to work in areas of mutual interest. He added that increasing cooperation will be important to accessing global economies and maintaining peace and security.
In his address to the media, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said the meeting took place at a time when the global audience is facing multiple challenges and stresses. He said a good part of his meeting with Secretary Blinken went to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has many ramifications.
He pointed out that even countries far away are worrying about energy and food security, commodity prices and logistics disruption. He said this comes on top of the consequences of the COVID pandemic and has raised awareness about the need for reliable and resilient supply chains. He stressed that the nature of globalization and usage of technology has brought to fore concerns of trust and transparency.
Dr Jaishankar also said that India has made a number of statements in UN, in Parliament and in other forums that India is against conflict, India is for dialogue and diplomacy, and for urgent cessation of violence. He said India is prepared to contribute in a notable way to these.
The External Affairs Minister stated that India buys some energy from Russia necessary for its energy security. He however added that India’s purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon. He informed that ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific was also on the agenda. They spoke of developments in and around Afghanistan and conversations also covered the recent happenings in the Indian subcontinent.
Dr Jaishankar highlighted that strategic partnerships like those between India and US are built through shared interest, common values and constant nurturing. He said it is natural that each side will bring to the relationship their particular perspectives, experiences, and priorities.
Ahead of the 2 plus 2 Dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart in Washington DC. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar also held a meeting with his US counterpart. They held wide-ranging exchange of views on the global situation,regional hotspots and bilateral cooperation.