India and USA have reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional stability and rule of law at the fourth 2 plus 2 Ministerial Dialogue held in Washington. India’s Defence and External Affairs Ministers and their US counterparts undertook a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to Foreign Policy, Defense and Security. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden also held a virtual meeting before the 2+2 dialogue where both leaders discussed the destabilizing impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine, with a particular focus on global food supply. PM Modi also pointed out that India placed importance on the safety of the civilian population in Ukraine and the uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid to them including medicines and relief materials. Both sides also expressed their commitment to strengthening the bilateral relationship through cooperation.
- 2+2 Dialogue between India and US was agreed during visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to US in June, 2017.
- It is similar to India-Japan 2+2 dialogue format between foreign and defence secretaries and ministers of the two countries.
- It replaces earlier India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
- The dialogue is aimed at enhancing strategic coordination between both countries and maintaining peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region.
- It puts strategic, defence and security relationship between two countries at forefront and centre stage.
Need for India – US Partnership in Present Situation
- The rise of China and its hegemonic tactics, especially in the South China Sea.
- The world today is faced with an authoritarian coalition that doesn’t subscribe to the primacy of liberal values and democracy.
- For promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Expanding fair and reciprocal trade would contribute to the prosperity of both nations.
- Thus the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy must come together to defend a rules-based liberal order.
- The entire 2+2 Dialogue centred on the threat posed by China and the need to contain Chinese
- Whereas Pakistan is the more immediate threat for India.
- Pakistan’s threat to build new short-range nuclear capable weapon systems is again a real danger.
- None of this seems to fall within U.S. purview at present.
- America’s current war on trade deficits and imposition of import duties hurt Indian business.
- American sanctions on Iran, especially on the latter’s oil exports will cause inconvenience to India
- Our tilt towards the U.S. is also taking place at a time when the world sees the U.S. as a ‘declining power’.
- Any counter moves by Russia, such as seeking out Pakistan as an outlet for its defence items, will not be to India’s benefit.
- While India can play a crucial role in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy, the US can help India stand up to China’s assertiveness.
- In the present geopolitical situation, India and US can be the two pillars of a rules-based world order.
- New Delhi must work with Washington in the next few months to ensure that the benefits from the 2+2 dialogue don’t add up only on the other side.
- India, on its way to become a global power, will likely have to follow a zigzag course, balancing between American demands, long-term friendship with Russia and its own strategic necessities in the neighbourhood and beyond.