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PoliticsIndiaSwaraj, Sitharaman to visit US for first 2+2 dialogue

Swaraj, Sitharaman to visit US for first 2+2 dialogue

The dialogue puts defence and security issues at the front and centre of the relationship between India and US

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New Delhi: India and the United States will hold the inaugural 2+2 meeting of their defence and foreign ministers in Washington on 6 July, the US state department announced Thursday, ending months of uncertainty dogged by postponements and cancellations over scheduling and personnel changes. 

This will be the first simultaneous meeting of the Indian defence and external affairs ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj and their US counterparts James Mattis and Mike Pompeo in a format announced last August after a call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump.

The two sides are expected to share perspectives on strengthening their strategic and security ties and exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

Swaraj and Sitharaman will take part in the first meeting of the ‘2+2 Dialogue’ with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James N Mattis on 6 July, it said.

This new dialogue format was agreed upon between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June 2017. The dialogue puts defence and security issues at the front and centre of the relationship between India and US.

The meeting will focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation as the US and India jointly confront global challenges, according to the US State Department.

Earlier this year, the ‘2+2 dialogue’ had been postponed due to uncertainty over the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State. Pompeo was later confirmed as Secretary of State in April.

The dialogue is seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries. This 2+2 replaces the strategic and commercial 2+2 that India and the US had been holding for a few years earlier, involving the defence and commerce ministries in discussions focused on expanding defence and bilateral trade ties.

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