The first 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between India and Russia is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on December 6, 2021.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, “In New Delhi, on December 6, the first 2+2 Ministerial Level Talks will take place. And for this Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will be here to hold discussions with the Indian counterparts Dr SJaishankar and Rajnath Singh.”
This is the first ever meeting between the two countries in the 2+2 format.
Why the Delay?
Though no dates were announced officially, the talks were expected to take place in November, but could not be scheduled earlier due to the growing number of COVID cases in Russia and the Indian Parliament’s winter session starting next week.
What is the expected agenda of the Ministerial Level talks?
Both sides will have in-depth discussions on issues of regional and global concern, as well as the developments in Afghanistan, Syria, and the situation in the Asia-Pacific region. And, to exchange views on the recent interaction at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and RIC (Russia, India & China).
Both India and Russia have had several meetings in different forums and discussed the situation in Afghanistan under Taliban 2.0, and how to tackle the threat of terrorism, drug trafficking, radicalization as well as refugees.
When the ministers meet in New Delhi, issues related to India’s energy security, Atomic Energy, the formation of new military alliance AUKUS will be on the table for talks.
A joint commission on Science & Technology is likely to be announced at the end of the first 2+2 Dialogue.
Extension of Military-Technical Cooperation for 2021-2031.
The long awaited Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS). Once this agreement is inked then, the militaries of both countries will get access to support facilities at each other’s bases and ports. The navies of the two countries are having more drills and working together towards improving Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). Once the RELOS is inked, the Indian Navy is expected to access the Russian facilities located in the Arctic Region – this region has in the recent years witnessed increased global activity.
A MoU between Navy to Navy is on the agenda too.
Who benefits from such agreements?
The Indian Navy is the biggest beneficiary of the administrative arrangements signed with various countries as it helps in quick turnaround, and helps in the interoperability on the high seas.
India and Russia are keen on expanding the existing format of military drills in an effort to make them more sophisticated, more complex as well as including drone warfare and new technologies and their impact on future warfare.
There is also a possibility of having trilateral as well as multilateral military exercises with the Central Asian countries.
Logistics Agreement with other countries
The UK, Vietnam, are some of the countries with which India is in discussions for such an agreement.
The Agreement with all the QUAD member nations (US, Japan & Australia), Singapore, Oman, France, South Korea are already operational.
With which other countries India has 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue?
This format of talks India enjoys with the US, Australia and Japan. Next month Russia will be the fourth country with which 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue will take place.
India and Russia earlier this month announced a permanent channel for consultations on Afghanistan.
Where will be the next 2+2 Dialogue?
According to officials, the plan is to have dialogue under this format on a regular basis and will take place alternatively in India and Russia.
In future, consultations in this format are intended to be organized on a regular basis, alternately in Russia and India.