Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday stated that there was a sense of satisfaction that the partnership between India and the United States had grown in every domain during the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
“The discussions (during third India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue) covered various elements of our bilateral partnership, and there was a sense of satisfaction that our partnership has grown in virtually every domain including trade, energy, defence and education. We are also engaging more intensively on matters of national security and both sides are working more closely on multilateral formats,” said Srivastava at his weekly media briefing.
The MEA spokesperson mentioned that the format of the 2+2 dialogue was reflective of a comprehensive strategic global partnership India had with the US, under which a range of foreign policy issues, including regional and global issues of mutual interest, were discussed.
“One important focus of discussions was the Indo-Pacific region, and there was a reiteration that both sides, who felt that this stability and prosperity was important for all in this region. We also discussed cooperation in multilateral platforms particularly in the context of India entering the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member with effect from January 1, 2021,” Mr Srivastava said.
He also said that the ministers sought for global economic recovery and the need was felt to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic more resilient than ever.
On trade issues with the US, Srivastava said: “We agreed to rejuvenate and expand bilateral trade in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing discussions between US Trade Representative and our Ministry of Commerce and Industry to reach an understanding on improving market taxes on removing barriers to trade as well as to improving business environment was noted during these discussions.”
He further stated that in the field of energy, there was a sense of satisfaction that there has been significant progress under all four pillars of strategic energy partnership, which covered oil and gas, power, energy efficiency and renewable and sustainable growth.
“An MoU was signed recently in the areas of strategic petroleum reserves which was welcomed during the 2+2 dialogue. In the area of energy, another significant development is the announcement of the extension of corporation between two sides under the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership,” added Mr Srivastava.
He further spoke about the supply chains and said that “there was a reaffirmation of support to enhance supply chain resilience and also to seek alternatives in the current paradigm, and that there was a feeling that the sides needed to seek alternatives because these supply chains had come under strain during the pandemic which exposed vulnerabilities”.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper took part in the third 2+2 dialogue between the two countries.
India and US signed five key agreements during the 2+2 India-US ministerial-level dialogue including Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which will allow India real-time access to precision data and topographical images from the United States military satellites.
During the dialogue, the ministers of the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to deepening bilateral defence consultation and collaboration and to exploring opportunities to expand cooperative capacity-building efforts with partners across the region.
They also affirmed their commitment to pursue increased cooperation between the Indian military and US Central Command and Africa Command, including broader participation in exercises and conferences, so as to promote shared security interests.
The United States looks forward to hosting the next 2+2 Ministerial in 2021.