New Delhi, Sept 6: Taking their strategic partnership to a new level, India and United States of America on Thursday sat for the inaugural 2+2 Dialogue. The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of States Michael R. Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis.
In her opening remarks, Swaraj said that significant progress has been made in the India-US relationship since June 2017 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump had met and set future directions for boosting the relationship between the two nations. "Prime Minister Modi and President Trump set future directions for our relationship. I am happy to note that there has been significant progress in all key areas of our relationship," Swaraj said.
Swaraj expressed confidence that the decisions taken in this first 2+2 Dialogue will help in unleashing the untapped potential of relations between India and the US. "I am confident that our discussions and decisions that we will take today will help unleash the untapped potential of our relationship and further elevate the level of our partnership," she said.
In his opening statement, Pompeo said efforts will be made to ensure freedom of the navigation and overflight, peaceful resolutions of the maritime disputes and promotion of market-based economics.
"Our two nations are united by shared values of democracy, respect for individual rights and a shared commitment to freedom. Given those values, India and the United States have a natural starting point. We should continue to ensure freedom of the seas, skies, uphold the peaceful resolutions of the maritime disputes, promote market-based economics and good governance and prevent external economic coercion," Pompeo said.
Sitharaman said that the meeting was a reflection of efforts made by the two countries in developing the ties over the past few years. "This meeting is a reflection of tremendous focus that we have made in developing our ties over past few years. It is a strong recognition of the immense potential of our bilateral partnership for benefit of our people, region and beyond," the Defence Minister added.
Sitharaman also emphasised that the commencement of the first-ever 2+2 Dialogue between the two nations is a concrete manifestation of the vision of Prime Minister Modi and President Trump to take India-US relationship to a higher trajectory.
Earlier, Swaraj and Pompeo held bilateral talks. "1+1 before 2+2! EAM @SushmaSwaraj had a productive meeting with United States Secretary of State@SecPompeo," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted while mentioning the talks indicate elevating and strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries. "The two sides took stock of impressive strides in our bilateral relationship and discussed steps to take our relationship to an even higher trajectory," he added.