For two days i.e. October 26-27, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper will hold meetings with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Amidst the present situation in which major nations of the world are concerned with countering China’s aggression, these 2+2 meetings between India and the USA assume significance.
Significance of the Nomenclature
This meeting provides for 2 important ministers of each country to discuss the security, defence and strategic partnership paradigm between India and the United States. The inaugural 2+2 dialogue was held in 2018, and this present round is the third 2+2 meeting between India and the US.
India’s Importance Has Grown in the Region
Ever since this mechanism has come into existence, India’s importance has only grown manifold. Especially, in the present context of virus that originated from China and the cost it afflicted on global economy, the US and other countries are increasingly looking at diversifying their supply chains. This gives India a leverage to finalise many deals that are hovering for a long time.
What the US government has said ahead of the 2+2 meeting clearly indicates the growing importance of India. It stated, “The United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power. The United States looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council.”
What is Expected This Time?
It is expected that this time around, India and the USA may sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which will enable India to avail US expertise on geospatial intelligence, and sharpen the accuracy of weapons and automated hardware systems. Some security concerns were raised earlier, but a series of meetings were held between the two nations to address all those apprehensions. The sharing of geospatial information and the data set supplemented by highly accurate US satellites will greatly help India in navigation as well as targeting military assets.
The Road Got Smoothen
In expanding the defence and strategic engagements, the US did have its share of concerns. For example, it is evidently uncomfortable with the idea of India purchasing the missile defence system from Russia. India’s engagement with Iran amidst the US sanctions has also been a differing subject between the two countries.
But at the moment, creating a balance against China in the Indo-Pacific region seems to be the major challenge for the US, and India is the unmissable part in this agenda. The coming together of Quad – USA, Japan, India, Australia – on sea is the main reflection of this point in recent times. The other contentions as mentioned above, have taken a backseat, if not withered away.
You may also like to read: