The Narendra Modi government and Trump administration will increase dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of India and US. The new policy will replace the existing dialogue format initiated by the Obama administration, according to Indian Express report. The name for the new dialogue format is likely to be “2 by 2”, similar to the India-Japan 2+2 policy, the report says. This new policy puts defence and security issues at the front and centre of the Indo-US bilateral relationship.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a detailed discussion about the new policy during a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, IE report says. This comes even as New Delhi and Washington share similar views on an array of issues such as terrorism, Indo-Pacific region and bilateral defence ties.
The White House, in a statement about President Donald Trump’s phone call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Independence Day, indicated about the new format: “The leaders resolved to enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a new two-by-two ministerial dialogue that will elevate their strategic consultations.” It, however, gave no details of the mechanism.
The idea was mooted during the conversation between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his American counterpart Gen (retd) H R McMaster that took place earlier, accoding to IE report. An initial conversation took place during Modi’s visit to Washington DC this June.
According to report, there is a possibility of the first meeting of Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley with Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis in late September or early October in the US. Much will depend on their schedules.