The recently concluded 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between India and the United States is viewed as the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries and provides for a review of the security, defence and strategic partnership between the two countries.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met their American counterparts, Defence Secretary Mark T Esper and Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo in Washington on December 18, for the second annual India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. At the Dialogue, both sides positively appraised the growing partnership between India and the United States and noted that important milestones had been achieved since the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi in 2018.
Both sides also reiterated their commitment to advancing a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, according to a detailed statement.
Both sides also committed to further deepen military-to-military cooperation, including between the Indian Navy and the US Navy Fleets under US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command, and Africa Command and intend to expand similar cooperation between their respective Armies and Air Forces. A number of other initiatives to enhance military-to-military cooperation were also agreed upon, the statement said.
The two sides concluded the Industrial Security Annex during the visit. Priority initiatives were identified for execution under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) programme. The two sides also concluded a standard operating procedure for this process. These measures are expected to provide momentum to collaboration between the private defence industries of both India and the US, it added.
The two sides also agreed to move forward in their engagement in the area of defence innovation.
Prior to the high-level meeting, Singh was received at the Pentagon by Esper, along with a ceremonial Guard of Honour and was accorded a 19-gun salute. The Defence Minister and his counterpart further held a delegation-level bilateral talk at the Pentagon on enhancing India-US defence partnership.
In addition, Jaishankar also held bilateral talks with his counterpart Secretary Pompeo.
Singh also paid floral tributes at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery prior to the dialogue.
After the 2+2 meeting, Singh, along with Jaishankar, called on US President Donald J Trump at the Oval Office, accompanied by US National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert O’Brian.
The Defence Minister began his visit to the US from New York on December 16 where he had addressed a large Indian community reception. From New York, the dignitary travelled to the Norfolk Naval Air Station on December 17, where he was briefed on the naval and air assets stationed at the base.