Thursday, November 30, 2023

Antony Blinken’s Diplomatic Dash: US Secretary of State to Ignite 2+2 Dialogue in New Delhi

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US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is all set to touch down in New Delhi tomorrow, gearing up for the 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The visit carries immense significance, showcasing the deep partnership between the two nations.

Speaking about Blinken’s visit, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, emphasized the importance of the bilateral relationship. He mentioned that the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, joined by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, will be a crucial platform for discussions. Among the many topics on the agenda, deepening security cooperation and partnership will take the spotlight, building on the momentum from Prime Minister Modi’s state visit earlier this year.

Patel noted, “The Secretary looks forward to being there and engaging directly with his counterparts on this. But I will let the trip take place before we talk more about it.”

A high-profile US delegation, led by Secretary Blinken and featuring Secretary of Defense Austin, is ready to convene in New Delhi for this dialogue. The event provides an opportunity for top-level discussions on critical bilateral and global matters, with a special focus on developments in the Indo-Pacific region.

Secretary Blinken and Defense Secretary Austin are scheduled to meet with their Indian counterparts, Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar and Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, along with other senior officials. The discussions will encompass a wide range of issues, including strengthening bilateral relations, addressing global concerns, and promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

The US State Department’s official statement reads, “The delegation will meet with Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, and other senior Indian officials to discuss both bilateral and global concerns and developments in the Indo-Pacific.”

This visit is part of Secretary Blinken’s broader tour, which includes stops in Tel Aviv, Israel; Amman, Jordan; Ankara, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, the Republic of Korea (ROK); and New Delhi, India, spanning from November 2 to November 10, 2023.

The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is a recurring diplomatic summit held annually since 2018, featuring the Minister of External Affairs and the Defense Minister representing India and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense representing the United States. The discussions focus on shared concerns and common interests.

In the upcoming dialogue, the US is expected to advocate for military hardware cooperation, while India may seek the sharing of high-end technology for developing indigenous weapon systems, marking the continued evolution of their strategic partnership.

Recently, India and the US reached a significant agreement for the supply of 31 MQ-9B Predator drones, valued at USD 3 billion, to the Indian defense forces. The US is also poised to support the sale of six additional P-8I surveillance planes to India, further strengthening their defense ties.

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