U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin reaches in India on Thursday to kick off a two-day official visit. His trip to India commenced with an impressive tri-service Guard of Honour ceremony at the Palam Airport in New Delhi, showcasing the close and growing partnership between the two nations. This visit sets the stage for the India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue scheduled for the following day.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also scheduled to reach India, joining Secretary Austin for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. They will co-chair this diplomatic summit alongside Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, reflecting the comprehensive nature of the Indo-U.S. partnership.
The Ministry of Defence announced that after the 2+2 Dialogue, Secretary Austin and Defence Minister Singh will engage in a bilateral meeting to delve deeper into strategic, defense, and technology issues of mutual interest.
Secretary Austin’s visit to India is part of his broader tour of the Indo-Pacific region, which also includes stops in South Korea and Indonesia. This marks his ninth visit to the region, underlining the importance of the Indo-Pacific in U.S. foreign policy.
During the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the Indian and U.S. representatives will review contemporary regional issues, exchange perspectives on shared priorities, and explore opportunities to enhance cooperation in multilateral forums. The dialogue will also discuss the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, highlighting the strategic significance of the Quad in the Indo-Pacific region.
The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue has been a recurring diplomatic event since its inception in 2018. It serves as a platform for India and the United States to shape their strategic partnership and address various global challenges together.
This year’s dialogue is expected to touch upon military hardware cooperation, with the U.S. expressing interest in such collaboration. India, on the other hand, is likely to seek high-end technology sharing to boost its indigenous defense capabilities, aligning with the vision set by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden during their discussions in June and September this year.
The first-ever India-U.S. 2+2 dialogue was held during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has strengthened, making the annual dialogue a crucial event in shaping the future of the bilateral partnership.