New Delhi: Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington DC on 18 December for the second annual India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. This 2+2 dialogue is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries and provides for a review of the security, defence and strategic partnership between India and the United States. This was the second 2+2 meeting and the first in US.
At the Dialogue, both sides positively appraised the growing partnership between India and the United States, and noted that important milestones had been achieved since the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi in 2018. Both sides reiterated their commitment to advancing a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
At the Dialogue, both sides also committed to further deepen military cooperation, including between the Indian Navy and the US Navy Fleets under US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command, and Africa Command and their intent to expand similar cooperation between their respective Armies and Air Forces. A number of other initiatives to enhance military cooperation were also agreed upon.
The two sides concluded the Industrial Security Annex during the visit. Priority initiatives have been identified for execution under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) programme.
The two sides also concluded a standard operating procedure for this process. These measures are expected to provide momentum to collaboration between the private defence industries of both India and the US. The two sides also agreed to move forward in their engagement in the area of defence innovation.
Earlier, on the morning of 18 December, Rajnath Singh was received at the Pentagon by US Defence Secretary Mark Esper with a ceremonial Guard of Honour and accorded a 19-gun salute.
Singh and Esper later held delegation level bilateral talks at the Pentagon on further strengthening India-US defence partnership and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held bilateral talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo.
Rajnath Singh also paid floral tributes at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery.
After the 2+2 meeting, Singh and Jaishankar called on President of the United States, Donald Trump, at the Oval Office. They were accompanied by US National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert O’Brian.
Rajnath Singh began his visit to the US from New York on 16 December where he addressed a large Indian community reception. From New York, Singh travelled to the Norfolk Naval Air Station on 17 December, where he was briefed on the naval and air assets stationed at the base.
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