New Delhi: The fourth India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue, the first under US President Joe Biden’s administration, was held in Washington on Monday (April 11). The discussions encouraged the two countries to think together about long-term challenges, especially in the Indo-Pacific.

By   Nirendra Dev

It has also energized the collaborative endeavours to build what is emerging as a key bilateral relationship between India and the United States.

In his opening remarks at the 2+2 ministerial dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India places the highest priority upon the strategic partnership with the US.

“In a decade, our defense suppliers from the USA rose from negligible to a cumulative around of over $20 billion US. We look forward to US companies investing in India and supporting the ‘Make In India’ program. We look forward to further enhancing the depth and the scope of our defense cooperation,” he said.

The defence minister said, “The cooperation would give effect to our shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, and rules-bound Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region.”

“We are working with the US to double up capabilities across conventional and emerging defense domains,” he said.

In his remarks, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said, “What India and the US do together will make a difference.”

“Our collaboration has grown well beyond its bilateral scope and now has a visible impact on global issues, as well. It could be addressing the COVID challenge, taking climate action, ensuring maritime security, or promoting critical technologies,” he said.

“We have seen, particularly over the last year, both an elevation and an intensification of the Quad. Our achievements in this regard have a larger resonance,” the Minister said.

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said: “This is a momentous moment in global affairs, and I think as a result this partnership is even more consequential and more vital”.

“This year, as has been noted, marks India’s 75th year of independence, 75 years of our own relationship. We look very much forward to continuing to build a stronger future for both of our countries, both of our peoples through our defence and security cooperation,” Blinken added.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “We are positioning the US and Indian militaries to operate and coordinate closely together across all domains and increasingly across the wider Indo-Pacific, all in support of the rule of law, freedom of the seas, and regional peace and security.”

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