Stage set for inaugural ‘2 Plus 2 Indo-US Dialogue’

Stage set for inaugural ‘2 Plus 2 Indo-US Dialogue’

Agency News

New Delhi, Sep 6: All eyes are on the inaugural '2 Plus 2 Indo-US Dialogue' to be held in here on Thursday.

The US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and the US Defence Secretary James Matis will hold bilateral and delegation-level talks with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford will also be part of the US delegation at the top level political interactions. The US Embassy in India, in a Twitter message said, “The 2 Plus 2 Dialogue is an indication of the deepening strategic partnership between our two countries and India’s emergence as a net security provider in the region".

"In a special gesture symbolising our warm and friendly relationship, Sushma Swaraj received United States Secretary of State Pompeo at the airport on his first visit to India," MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

A senior Indian official said here that as the Secretary Pompeo would be coming to India via Islamabad, the Indian government would be also keen to listen what the US has to speak about Pakistan and especially its role in fighting the terror menace.

The geo-strategic situation in the Afghan-Pakistan region and on the global context will figure prominently along with Indian concerns on developing and operating the strategic Chabahar port and its significance for Afghanistan.

The two sides are also negotiating a Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which would enable them to share advanced satellite data for navigation and missile targeting.

Even as the United States as emerged as India's number two weapons supplier, Americans are still keen to further tap into India’s large defence market. According to reports attributed to American government sources, the two countries were looking at a carrying out a major joint exercise–involving troops on land, at sea and in the air.

Senior government officials have said issues concerning Iran, oil import, terrorism and Indo Pacific may figure prominently.

"The US side will be sensitised that we are heavily energy-import reliant country..... Eighty three per cent of our energy comes from external sources and out of this, 25 per cent is Iranian crude," an Indian official said on oil import issue from Iran.

Randall Schriver, the Pentagon’s top Asia official, predicted last week that the discussions in Delhi would produce “a set of actual concrete outcome". "The 2+2 presents an historic opportunity to develop our growing partnership and to explore ways of enhancing our security cooperation,” Marine General Joseph Dunford has said. UNI