India and US initiate discussions to enhance partnership in response to “global challenges” – Global Affairs

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The top cabinet officials of India and the United States held talks on Friday, emphasizing the need to strengthen their friendship to address urgent global, geopolitical challenges. The “2+2 Dialogue” between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and their Indian counterparts Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh aims to enhance defense cooperation and align policy objectives in the Indo-Pacific region.

Despite ongoing crises in Gaza and Ukraine, the talks will focus on advancing the India-US defense and strategic relationship, as well as regional issues in South Asia and the larger Indian Ocean region. “Defense remains one of the most important pillars of our bilateral relationship,” stated Rajnath Singh. The two countries, once on opposite sides of the Cold War, are now working on landmark deals including supply and manufacturing of engines for Indian fighter jets and cooperation in semiconductor manufacturing.

It is crucial for the world’s two largest democracies to exchange views and find common goals, emphasized Austin. The officials will build on the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June and President Joe Biden’s upcoming trip to New Delhi for the G20 summit. The dialogue will also focus on promoting a free and open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific, as well as addressing mutual concerns over China.

India-US relations have strengthened in the last two decades, but New Delhi has also maintained relations with Russia, frustrating the West amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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