Washington, Apr 11 (PTI) India and US on Monday held the fourth 2+2 Ministerial during which the two sides discussed contemporary developments, including Ukraine, and reviewed their collaboration in the Indo-Pacific, amidst China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.
The 2+2 was attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and their Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh respectively.
“We have had separate meetings with our State and Defence counterparts respectively. We have of course, benefitted from the guidance provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden through the virtual summit at which we were all present,” Jaishankar said in his opening remarks.
He said the 2+2 format is intended to promote a more integrated approach to Indo-US partnership.
“And this has become increasingly relevant as the scope and intensity of our engagement steadily increases. We can truly assert that there is virtually no domain on which we are not cooperating with each other. The nature of our opportunities and challenges are such that they are more effectively addressed through a cross-cutting dialogue,” he said.
As the two sides meet for the fourth time, they can take satisfaction at the extent of progress that they have made, he said.
“Whether it is our USD 160 billion trade account, our 200,000 students, our highest recorded investment levels or our rapidly growing energy trade, the yardsticks to measure our growing closeness tell their own story,” Jaishankar said.
“Our collaboration has grown well beyond its bilateral scope and now has a visible impact on global issues as well. It could be addressing the Covid challenge, taking climate action, ensuring maritime security or promoting critical technologies, what India and the US do together will make a difference,” he said.
The minister said that a significant focus of the bilateral engagement pertains to the Indo-Pacific. “We have seen particularly over the last year both an elevation and an intensification of the Quad. Our achievements have a larger resonance,” he said, referring to the four-nation grouping comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia.
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.
The two sides also discussed contemporary developments, including Ukraine, Afghanistan, the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent.
Earlier, in a separate meeting at the Pentagon, Singh and Austin reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation and the regional security situation.
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