Amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan after the revocation of Article 370, that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the US will host an intersessional meeting of the US-India 2+2 Dialogue in California on Thursday to discuss ways to advance cooperation on critical diplomatic and security priorities.
The intersessional meeting is aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership, the State Department said on Wednesday.
“During the Intersessional, the two sides will discuss ways to advance cooperation on critical diplomatic and security priorities, including our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and review preparations for the next 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue,” the State Department said.
The American delegation is being led jointly by the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver.
Meanwhile, on Friday, during the fourth US-India Maritime Security Dialogue, the two sides will exchange views on maritime developments in the Indo-Pacific region and consider steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation, the official US statement said.
Both the 2+2 intersessional meeting and Maritime Security Dialogue will be held at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey in California, it said.
The interactions will lay the groundwork for the visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to the US later this fall.
Newly-appointed US Defense Secretary Mark T Esper told Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and that all India-Pakistan issues need to be settled bilaterally.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump once again offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
After speaking with the leaders of both the countries and urging them to reduce tensions over Kashmir, US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend at the G7 in France, and he would do his best to mediate in the issue.
On Monday, Trump spoke with his “two good friends” Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan and urged them to work towards reducing tensions over Kashmir. He also advised Pakistan to “moderate its rhetoric with India” over Kashmir.
Last week, Pakistan’s attempts in the United Nations Security Council over Kashmir were left unsuccessful after most of the participating nations agreed that ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two union territories was a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The “closed UNSC consultations” ended without any resolution.
(With PTI inputs)