US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper will arrive in India today for the third edition of the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue, just a week ahead of the U.S. Presidential election. The two-plus-two dialogue will take place on Tuesday. During the talks, the Indian side will be represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
2+2 Ministerial Dialogue: What to expect
- It is likely that a host of crucial bilateral, regional and global issues including China's efforts to expand influence in the Indo-Pacific region as well as its aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh figure in the 2+2 ministerial dialogue. In
- The two sides are expected to finalise the long-pending BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The BECA will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.
- The ministerial dialogue will entail a comprehensive discussion on cross cutting bilateral issues of mutual interest. In addition, both sides will also exchange views on salient regional and global issues.
- Pompeo and Esper will have bilateral meetings with their Indian counterparts as well. They are also scheduled to make a joint call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- US Secretary of Defence Esper will be given a tri-services guard of honour at the lawns of South Block in the Raisina Hills on Monday afternoon.
Previous 2+2 dialogues
The first edition of the two-plus-two dialogue was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump. The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December last year. The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries.
In June 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. The two countries inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies as well as provides for deeper cooperation. The two countries signed another pact called COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 that provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for sale of high end technology from the US to India.
(With PTI inputs)