India and the United States on Friday held ‘2+2’ foreign and defense ministerial dialogue to discuss consolidation of existing partnerships while further exploring cooperation in domains such as critical technologies, civil outer space collaboration, and critical minerals.
The US delegation was headed by secretary of defense Lloyd Austin and secretary of state Antony Blinken while defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar led the Indian side.
The two sides discussed advancing strategic partnership, including elevating bilateral defense ties, future logistics cooperation, and people-to-people contacts, Jaishankar announced after the meeting. Both sides exchanged perspectives on the Indo-Pacific, South Asia, West Asia, and Ukraine conflict, reaffirming their commitment to bilateral collaboration in the multilateral arena and engaging the Global South, he added.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, the first since Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in June, Jaishankar said, “Our dialogue today will be an opportunity to advance the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden to build a forward-looking partnership and construct a shared global agenda.”
Stating that Indo-US trade is more than $200 billion and FDI is rising in both directions,, Jaishankar said both countries are further exploring cooperation in domains such as critical technologies, civil outer space collaboration, and critical minerals, while consolidating established domains.
Before the delegations commenced their close-door discussion on Friday morning, Blinken said the two sides were taking concrete steps to deliver on the two leaders’ vision. “The US is promoting a free and open, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships through the Quad, with Japan and Australia.”
Blinken said India and the US are together harnessing the power of innovation to make the economies more resilient and to make the communities more secure, while expanding inclusive economic opportunity, which was evident in the cooperation on semiconductors and advanced biotechnology.
“We’re bolstering our partnership in international peace and security, and specifically, working to promote the rules-based order and uphold the principles at the heart of the United Nations Charter: sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence. Our defense cooperation—which we’re strengthening again today—is a key pillar of that work,” he further said.
Blinken added that there was no shortage of shared challenges requiring both countries’ attention, determination, and collaboration. “”It only underscores how vital the US-India partnership is – and how important our efforts are to further strengthen it, including dialogue such as today.”
In his opening remarks, Austin said that India has made impressive gains in building significant defense partnerships with the US over the past year. It will help keep both countries contributing even more to the cause of peace and stability, he added.
Rajnath Singh said that the bilateral relationship between the two countries has seen a growing convergence of strategic interests and an enhanced defense, security, and intelligence cooperation.
“In spite of various emerging geopolitical challenges, we need to keep our focus on the important and long-term issues. Our partnership is critical for ensuring a free, open, and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
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