India and the US will hold the ‘2+2’ dialogue involving their foreign and defence ministers in Washington in December.
The broad contours of the dialogue were discussed at a meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Bangkok on Sunday.
Expressing happiness on the growing relationship between India and US, Singh said the bilateral cooperation between the two sides has increased across a wide range of sectors, including defence and security, economy, energy, counter-terrorism and people-to-people ties.
The minister added that there was a growing convergence between India and US in the Indo-Pacific region and India’s vision for Indo-Pacific was for a free and open, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive region supported by a rules-based order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The two ministers noted that their countries were working in the area of maritime security, including elements such as joint exercises, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and maritime domain awareness.
The two ministers also discussed a number of other issues concerning regional security and bilateral defence cooperation.
Singh told his US counterpart that he looked forward to have substantial discussions during the ‘2+2’ dialogue.
Later, in a tweet, the minister described his meeting with the US Defence Secretary as excellent. “We talked about ways to expand defence cooperation between India and the US,” he said.
The inaugural ‘2+2’ Indo-US dialogue was held in New Delhi in September last year. The special format reflects the growing proximity between the two countries in defence, security and counter-terrorism. The two countries are said to be close to finalising an agreement to deepen defence industry collaboration.