Mike Pompeo expected to travel to India for 2+2 dialogue this month
The move to hold in-person meetings at a time when such discussions have mostly moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic reflects the importance attached by both sides to the 2+2 dialogue, people familiar with developments said.
The India-US 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the two sides is expected to be held in New Delhi during October 26-27 to take forward strategic cooperation and security ties, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark Esper are expected to travel to India for the meeting with their counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity. This will also be the second meeting between Jaishankar and Pompeo in the space of about 20 days, as they met in Tokyo on October 6.
The move to hold in-person meetings at a time when such discussions have mostly moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic reflects the importance attached by both sides to the 2+2 dialogue, the people said. As with the Jaishankar-Pompeo meeting and the Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo this week, the 2+2 dialogue is also expected to focus on China’s actions across the region and the Indo-Pacific.
Trade and investment too is expected to figure in the upcoming discussions though it is unlikely that there will be any major developments or deals as the US is set to head into the presidential election on November 3, the people said.
Differences in trade and investment, including on issues such as market access and data laws, continue to be among the few irritants in the India-US relationship, whereas cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, defence and security has grown in scope in recent years.
The two sides were unable to reach even a mini trade deal despite protracted negotiations ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February.
During the last 2+2 dialogue between India and the US that was held in Washington in December last year, the two sides had reaffirmed their commitment to work for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and agreed to deepen cooperation on regional and global threats, combating terrorism, and promoting transparent and sustainable infrastructure.