Amidst the prevailing geo-political uncertainty, India and the United States on Monday reaffirmed the importance of the India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership to international peace and security.
India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are in the United States for the fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial dialogue which was concluded on Monday.
Following the successful completion of the Ministerial dialogue, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said, “Concluded a productive and substantive 2+2 Ministerial Meeting. Discussed contemporary challenges and issues in an open and constructive manner. Resolved that our strategic partnership would continue to grow and play a greater role in shaping the direction of world affairs.”
Underlining the 2+2 dialogue ‘very meaningful’, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “We had discussions on a range of bilateral, defence and global issues. It was heartening to note that as world’s largest democracies, we have convergence of views on most of them. Both India and US share a common vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.”
Following the successful conclusion of fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the leaders jointly addressed the media.
On Russian Oil Purchasing
Addressing the joint press briefing following the successful conclusion of the fourth 2+2 meeting, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar once again sharply hit back on its critics for mis-constructing India’s stand on purchasing Russian oil.
“I noticed you refer to oil purchases. If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia. I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe, which probably we do buy some energy which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at the figures, probably our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon. So you might want to think about that,” EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said.
Talking of the situation in Ukraine, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar reiterated New Delhi’s long pressing demand of cessation of hostilities and moving on the path of diplomacy as it would mitigate the matters and clearly make the world less unpredictable.
“We’ve already provided humanitarian relief to Ukraine, to some of their neighbors, and even as we speak, a shipment of medicines is being delivered or will be delivered very soon to Kyiv,” EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said.
On India-US Bilateral Relations
Speaking on India-US Strategic Partnership, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said, ‘India-US ties have not only kept pace but actually emerged as a major contributor to global peace, stability and prosperity’.
“Strategic partnerships like those between India and the United States are built through shared interests, common values and constant nurturing,” EAM said.
Further highlighting the steadily growth in trade and investment ties between both the countries, the Minister also lauded the rebound in bilateral trade between the two countries over the last year, surpassing $113 billion in goods.
On Energy Dependence ties with US
Speaking at Joint Press briefing, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said, “Every country looks at its best options, and I think today an expanding India-U.S. energy relationship, which by the way didn’t exist some years ago – if my memory is right, you are the second-largest LNG supplier to India, I think the fourth or the fifth largest crude oil supplier, a big partner in the renewable side, including the agreement which Secretary Blinken just mentioned.”
“Believe me, we have a decent sense of what is in our interest and know how to protect it and advance it. So I think part of what has changed is we have more options than we did before,” EAM Dr. S Jaishankar added.
India-US take steps in Defence cooperation
Noting the nearly 20 years of the bilateral defense partnership between the two nations Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said, “Today’s meeting shows that we’re working together to build one of the most consequential partnerships of our time,” he said. “We’ve made important commitments today that will drive technological innovation and cooperation in emerging defense domains, including space and cyberspace.”
He further announced that the U.S. and India will launch new defense space exchanges this year between U.S. Space Command and India’s Defense Space Agency. “And I’m pleased to announce that just a few moments ago, we signed a bilateral space situational awareness arrangement,” he said.
The two defense establishments aim at deepening cooperation in cyberspace, including through training and exercises later this year. India and the United States are also expanding information-sharing partnerships across all warfighting domains.
Discussion on Indo-Pacific
Challenges in the Indo-Pacific have also been a particular focus of discussions during the high-level talks. Both the sides reiterated their commitment to take forward the initiatives announced, to empower the Quad as a force for global good for the Indo-Pacific region.
PM Modi holds virtual meeting with President Joe Biden
Setting a tone for the fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on Monday held a virtual meeting with the United States President Joe Biden. During the high level talks the two leaders put forth their commitment on strengthening cooperation between India and US on clean energy, technology and military cooperation, expanded economic and people-to-people ties, among others.
In a release the Ministry of External Affairs said, “The two leaders had an extensive exchange of views on several regional and global issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic recovery, climate action, recent developments in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. They also took stock of the significant progress made in bilateral relations in recent years.”
However, the Russia-Ukraine crisis remained top on the agenda during the dialogue. According to the White House release, “the two leaders also discussed the destabilizing impacts of Russia’s war against Ukraine, with a particular focus on global food supply.”
The India-US high level virtual meet was also attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar from White House along with their US counterparts, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin III and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.