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Strategic issues of mutual interests, regional and global developments to figure in Indo-US 2+2 dialogue

·3-min read

New Delhi, Oct 22 (PTI) A comprehensive discussion on key strategic issues of mutual interests as also on regional and global developments will be held during the third edition of the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue, which will take place just a week before the American presidential election even as the external affairs ministry on Thursday downplayed questions about the timing of the high-level talks.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the timing of the dialogue is in sync with that of the previous two editions.

'Diplomatic calendars have their logic. Earlier two meetings were also held towards the end of year,' Srivastava said while responding to queries on timing of the talks amidst apprehensions that no major outcome is expected from it as it is taking place just days ahead of the US election.

The third edition of the 2+2 dialogue will take place in Delhi on October 27, a week before the US presidential election on November 3.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper will visit India on October 26 and 27 for the dialogue, aimed at further boosting defence, security and global strategic ties between the two countries.

The Indian side at the talks will be represented by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

'The third ministerial dialogue will entail a comprehensive cross-cutting bilateral issues of mutual interests. In addition, both sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues,' Srivastava said at a media briefing.

Apart from the 2+2 framework, Pompeo and Esper will have bilateral meetings with their Indian counterparts as well, he said.

'They will also be meeting the National Security Advisor. There will be a joint call on the prime minister,' Srivastava said.

Specifically asked about key issues to be discussed, the MEA spokesperson said the talks will cover all 'salient regional and global issues' as the two countries share a comprehensive partnership.

The first edition of the dialogue was held in India in September 2018 while the second one took place in Washington in December last year.

'Discussions in these dialogues have enabled both sides to further progress the bilateral relationship and strengthen the institutional framework for cooperation across all sectors. India and the US have a comprehensive global strategic partnership which includes political, security and defence, economic, commercial, technology and people to people contacts,' he said.

The high-level talks are taking place in the midst of India's festering border row with China in eastern Ladakh as well as renewed global focus on growing Chinese military muscle flexing in the Indo-Pacific region. Both the issues are expected to figure in the talks.

It is expected that the two sides may finalise the long-pending BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The BECA will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.

The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries. PTI MPB PYK PYK