New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh landed in Washington, DC on Sunday as part of a five-day visit to the United States that includes the 2+2 ministerial meeting between India and the United States, news agency ANI reported.
Rajnath will be in the United States from April 10 to 15, meeting with US leaders to discuss measures to strengthen the India-US strategic alliance.
“I would be leaving New Delhi tonight for a visit to the United States from April 10 to April 15. I look forward to attending the Fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington DC. Also, I shall be visiting INDOPACOM headquarters in Hawai, during this visit,” Defence Minister tweeted on Saturday.
On April 11, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will greet Indian Defence Minister in a special event at the Pentagon (Sunday).
On Sunday, India and the United States will conduct a 2+2 meeting involving Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar, and their American counterparts.
“The Dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security with the objective of providing strategic guidance and a vision for further consolidating the relationship,” a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement was quoted by ANI in its report.
“The 2+2 Dialogue will also provide an opportunity to exchange views about important regional and global developments and how we can work together to address issues of common interest and concern,” the statement added.
According to a press release from the US State Department, US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will greet their Indian counterparts in Washington, DC on Sunday.
The US State Department said, “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 safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity, uphold human rights and expands regional and global peace and prosperity.”
The EAM will see his counterpart, Secretary of State Blinken, separately and is also slated to meet key officials of the US administration to further the India-US strategic global partnership, according to MEA spokeswoman Arindam Bagchi during a briefing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked with EAM Jaishankar over the phone on Tuesday ahead of the 2+2 discussion to assess regional and global objectives, particularly the situation in Ukraine. The most recent 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the two nations took place in New Delhi in October 2020.
In September of last year, India and the United States conducted a bilateral 2+2 inter-sessional conference in Washington, where they discussed developments in South Asia, the Indo-Pacific area, and the Western Indian Ocean.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday, ahead of the 2+2 talks between India and the US.
(With ANI Inputs)