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India US 2+2 (past, present & future)

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    18th Apr, 2022

Context

The fourth ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the United States took place in Washington DC.

Background

  • The US is India’s oldest and most important 2+2 talk partner.
    • The first 2+2 dialogue between the two countries was held during the Trump Administration, in New Delhi in September 2018.
  • The first India-Japan talks in the 2+2 format were held in November, 2019 in New Delhi.
  • The inaugural 2+2 dialogue with Australia was held in September 2021 at New Delhi.
  • India held its first 2+2 dialogue with Russia in December 2021.

Analysis

What is 2+2 dialogue?

  • The 2+2 dialogue is a format of meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues.
  • A 2+2 ministerial dialogue enables the partners to better understand and appreciate each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities taking into account political factors on both sides, in order to build a stronger, more integrated strategic relationship in a rapidly changing global environment.
  • India has 2+2 dialogues with four key strategic partners:
    • US
    • Australia
    • Japan
    • Russia

Besides Russia, the other three countries are also India’s partners in the Quad.

India and US:

  • The launch of the dialogue was seen as a “reflection of the shared commitment” by India and the US to provide “a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-US strategic partnership and to promote synergy in their diplomatic and security efforts”.
  • The second and third editions of the 2+2 dialogues were held in Washington DC and New Delhi in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
  • The fourth 2+2 meeting between the two countries is very important for both sides.
  • It is the first of its kind under the Biden–Modi governments and provides the opportunity to resume discussions at the highest level in this format, after it was disrupted and could not take place in 2021.

Importance of the meeting:

  • The resumption of the 2+2 format sends a positive signal for the momentum of bilateral relations and the overall political mood.
  • Two of the biggest economies of the world, China and India, in their own ways remain connected with Russia even in the face of an unprecedented attempt by the western countries to isolate Russia.
  • More importantly, some European countries themselves remain tied with Moscow through their energy and other imports, led by Germany.
  • Despite differing perceptions on the Ukraine Crisis between the two countries that have emerged, the 2+2 format is now being projected as a health yardstick for relations between the two countries.
  • The dialogue’s importance lies in the light of the differences that have emerged between the two countries over the Russia–Ukraine war.
  • The meeting provides both sides the opportunity to iron out these issues at the highest level by laying out their clear positions.
  • This would reduce the expectations gap that seems to exist between the two countries, particularly on India’s relations with Russia.

US – India Defence Trajectory

  • During the visit of Prime Minister to the U.S. in June 2016, the U.S. recognised India as a "Major Defence Partner"
  • Agreements Signed Recently
    • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA)
    • Fuel Exchange Agreement
    • Technical Agreement (TA) on information sharing on White (merchant) Shipping
    • The Information Exchange Annexe (IEA) Aircraft Carrier Technologies
  • Defence Acquisitions
    • Aggregate worth of defence acquisition from U.S. Defence has crossed over US$ 13 billion.
    • India and the United States have launched a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) aimed at simplifying technology transfer policies and exploring possibilities of co-development and co-production to invest the defence relationship with strategic value.
  • The two sides are also increasingly engaged in multi-lateral exercises such as the MALABAR, RED FLAG and RIMPAC, covering the broad expanse of the Indo-Pacific.
  • The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command as the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), an acknowledgement of the seamless connectivity that binds the Pacific and Indian Oceans and India’s growing importance.
  • The first-ever 2+2 dialogue was held in 2018 the backdrop of burgeoning joint exercises such as Cope-India (Air Force), Yudh Abhyas (Army) and Vajra Prahar (Special Forces).
  • The Indian Navy and the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) are set to deepen their maritime cooperation in the Western Indian Ocean.
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