What inaugural ‘2+2’ talks mean for US-India ties

What is special about this round of ‘2+2’?

This is the inaugural round of the India-US ‘2+2’ talks, after they were deferred twice this year. On Thursday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and US defence secretary James Mattis will take part in the talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Analysts say the dialogue represents an upgrade in ties, as it is seen as a platform for both sides to discuss issues of strategic importance. It is seen as an acknowledgment of India’s rise as a economic and strategic power.

What is special about this round of ‘2+2’?

This is the inaugural round of the India-US ‘2+2’ talks, after they were deferred twice this year. On Thursday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and US defence secretary James Mattis will take part in the talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Analysts say the dialogue represents an upgrade in ties, as it is seen as a platform for both sides to discuss issues of strategic importance. It is seen as an acknowledgment of India’s rise as a economic and strategic power.

Which other countries does the US have ‘2+2’ talks with?

Apart from India, the United States holds such ministerial dialogues only with Australia and Japan.

What issues will India and the US focus on?

The focus will be on possible US sanctions on India, if it does not cut down import of Iranian crude oil and Russian defence equipment. Other issues likely to be discussed are efforts to boost Indo-Pacific cooperation, finalizing a pact on encrypted defence technologies, terrorism, the Trump administration’s decision to make changes in the H1B visa programme and co-development of military platforms.

What is the schedule?

Pompeo and Mattis will first hold bilateral talks with Swaraj and Sitharaman, and their delegations in the respective ministries. Then the four will meet in the ‘2+2’ format, which will extend over a working lunch. At the conclusion of the talks, the four will call on Prime Minister Modi. While Pompeo is expected to depart on Thursday evening, Sitharaman will host Mattis to an official dinner before he leaves on Friday morning.

source: livemint


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