US-India 2+2 Dialogue postponed for ‘unavoidable reasons’

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New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) The first India-US strategic 2+2 Dialogue involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their US counterparts that was scheduled to have been held in Washington on July 6 has been postponed, the External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.

Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Sushma Swaraj “to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons”.

According to him, Pompeo sought Sushma Swaraj’s understanding “and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US”.

This new dialogue format was agreed to between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June last year when he met US President Donald Trump for the first time.

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Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed the agenda for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on the sidelines of the G20 Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires last month.

During their meeting in the Argentine capital, Singh and Sullivan affirmed the strong US-India strategic partnership and India’s status as a Major Defence Partner of the US.

The 2+2 Dialogue was to have been held in April, but was postponed because of changes in the leadership of the State Department after Rex Tillerson resigned and Pompeo was in the process of taking over.

Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis were supposed to host the Indian ministers at the meeting that was to focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation with both countries confronting global challenges.

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The dialogue was being looked at as a centrepiece of the growing ties between India and the US which Washington wants to scale up by extending the strategic vision from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.

–IANS

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