US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in New Delhi on Monday afternoon for the 2+2 dialogue. The talks will be held on Tuesday.
The holding of the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue demonstrates the high-level commitment the two countries provide to shared diplomatic and security objectives, US State Department had said on Sunday.
Before leaving for India, Pompeo had tweeted that he is grateful for the opportunity to connect with partners. “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 #IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations,” he said in the tweet.
Both the countries are set to review their strategic and security ties and discuss ways to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific during the third round of 2+2 dialogue.
The talks will focus on four themes — regional security cooperation, defence information sharing, military-to-military interactions, and defense trade, according to a US State Department statement last week.
The first two 2+2 Ministerial dialogues were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and Washington DC in 2019.
During their two-day visit, Pompeo and Esper will hold bilateral talks with their Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
Officials from both sides have pointed to the significance of Pompeo and Esper making an in-person visit at a time when most diplomatic meetings and interactions have moved online due to the pandemic, saying this reflects the importance attached to the relationship with India.
Ahead of the 2+2 dialogue, the US State Department said that it welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power. It also said the US is looking forward to work closely with India during the latter’s upcoming UNSC term, starting January 1, 2021.
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