Bound by “shared values and a common vision” for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the US and India will continue to chart an ambitious course in their bilateral defence partnership to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the Pentagon has said. In a statement on Thursday, ahead of the fourth 2+2 ministerial dialogue to be held here on April 11, the Pentagon said US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“Bound by shared values and a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the United States and India will continue to chart an ambitious course in the bilateral defence partnership,” the Pentagon said in the statement. India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region. China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though
Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. Since its inception in 2018, the 2+2 Ministerial has allowed the US and India to work toward building an advanced, comprehensive defence partnership that is poised to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the Pentagon said.This year’s 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue will span the full breadth of the partnership – including defence, science and technology cooperation, climate, public health, and people-to-people ties, it said.
According to the State Department, this year’s event will celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations and reaffirm the importance of the US-India Comprehensive and Global Strategic Partnership in ensuring international peace and security.“It will reaffirm our shared commitment to a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” it said.
The 2+2 Ministerial is an important opportunity to advance the shared objectives across the breadth of the US-India strategic partnership, including enhancing people-to-people ties and education cooperation, building diverse and resilient supply chains for critical and emerging technology. It would also be aimed at scaling up climate action and public health cooperation and developing a trade and investment partnership to increase prosperity for working families in both countries, it said.
“It is also a chance to highlight the growing Major Defence Partnership between the United States and India. The relationship between the world’s largest democracies is built on a foundation of common values and resilient democratic institutions, and the shared Indo-Pacific interests of a rules-based international order that safeguards sovereignty and territorial integrity, upholds human rights and expands regional and global peace and prosperity,” the State Department said.