2+2 Di­a­logue

A Quan­tum Leap in Indo-US Strate­gic Part­ner­ship

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In­dian Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man wel­comed US Sec­re­tary of State Michael R. Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis, for the in­au­gu­ral In­dia-US Min­is­te­rial 2+2 Di­a­logue. They wel­comed the launch of the 2+2 Di­a­logue as a re­flec­tion of the shared com­mit­ment by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to pro­vide a pos­i­tive, for­ward-look­ing vi­sion for the In­dia-US strate­gic part­ner­ship.

SINcE ThE 1990S, IN­DIA and US have been mov­ing closer to es­tab­lish a frame­work for de­fence co­op­er­a­tion with the sign­ing of var­i­ous agree­ments. In Jan­uary 1995, the Agreed Minute on De­fense Re­la­tions was signed; in 2005, the ‘New Frame­work for De­fense co­op­er­a­tion’ which was fol­lowed by the ‘Disas­ter Re­lief Ini­tia­tive’ in 2005 and the ‘Mar­itime Se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion Frame­work in 2006’ were signed. The foun­da­tion of the New Frame­work for the US-In­dia De­fense Re­la­tion­ship was based on the ax­iom that the world’s two largest democ­ra­cies agree on the vi­tal im­por­tance of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic free­dom, demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions, the rule of law, se­cu­rity, and op­por­tu­nity around the world with de­fence be­ing the key el­e­ment of the broader US-In­dia strate­gic part­ner­ship. The key op­er­a­tive words in this con­text was ‘strate­gic part­ner­ship and se­cu­rity in the broader In­dian Ocean re­gion’. 2+2 di­a­logue is a for­mat for in­ter­ac­tion of of­fi­cials of two coun­tries. Ja­pan has ap­plied this for­mat for in­ter­ac­tion with mul­ti­ple na­tions. In­dia par­tic­i­pated in 2+2 with Ja­pan in 2012 where In­dia’s For­eign and De­fence Sec­re­taries met their Ja­panese coun­ter­parts. Re­cently In­dia and US had agreed to in­ter­act in the 2+2 for­mat at the Min­is­ter’s level. The ad­van­tage of this for­mat is that many strate­gic mat­ters of vi­tal im­por­tance which fall un­der the do­main of both the ex­ter­nal af­fairs as well as de­fence min­istries can be dis­cussed com­pre­hen­sively with­out the prob­lem of ju­ris­dic­tion and fol­low up ac­tion taken.

Two Plus Two In­dia-US Min­is­te­rial Di­a­logue

Indo-US 2+2 Min­is­te­rial Di­a­logue talks was fi­nalised dur­ing Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s visit to Wash­ing­ton in 2017. The twice post­poned di­a­logue fi­nally took place on Septem­ber 6, 2018, at Delhi between Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man with US Sec­re­tary of State Michael R. Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary James. N. Mat­tis. In a spe­cial ges­ture, Sushma Swaraj and Nir­mala Sithara­man re­ceived their re­spec­tive coun­ter­parts at the Delhi Air­port, sig­ni­fy­ing the im­por­tance In­dia at­taches to their visit. Ahead of the in­au­gu­ral 2+2 di­a­logue, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man held sep­a­rate meet­ings on Septem­ber 6 with US Sec­re­tary of State Michael R. Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary James. N. Mat­tis re­spec­tively. They also called on the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in the af­ter­noon and briefed him on the meet­ing.

Ex­cerpts of the Joint State­ment on the In­au­gu­ral In­dia-US 2+2 Min­is­te­rial Di­a­logue

Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man wel­comed Michael R. Pom­peo and James N. Mat­tis, for the in­au­gu­ral In­dia-US Min­is­te­rial 2+2 Di­a­logue. They wel­comed the launch of the 2+2 Di­a­logue as a re­flec­tion of the shared com­mit­ment by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to pro­vide a pos­i­tive, for­ward-look­ing vi­sion for the In­dia-US strate­gic part­ner­ship and to pro­mote synergy in their diplo­matic and se­cu­rity ef­forts. They rec­og­nized that their two coun­tries are strate­gic part­ners, thus the Min­is­ters com­mit­ted to work to­gether on re­gional and global is­sues. It was also de­cided to es­tab­lish se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tions between the min­is­ters to help main­tain reg­u­lar high-level com­mu­ni­ca­tion on emerg­ing de­vel­op­ments. Other salient as­pects are:

Strength­en­ing the De­fense and Se­cu­rity Part­ner­ship

Ma­jor De­fense Part­ner (MDP). Reaf­firmed the strate­gic im­por­tance of In­dia’s des­ig­na­tion as a MDP and com­mit­ted to fur­ther ex­pand its scope.

Strate­gic Trade Autho­ri­sa­tion (STA1). In­dia wel­comed its in­clu­sion by the US among the top tier of coun­tries en­ti­tled to li­cense-free ex­ports, re-ex­ports and trans­fers un­der Li­cense Ex­cep­tion STA-1.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­pat­i­bil­ity and Se­cu­rity Agree­ment (COM­CASA). The Min­is­ters wel­comed the sign­ing of the cOM­cASA that will fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to ad­vanced de­fense sys­tems.

In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity An­nex (ISA). Ne­go­ti­a­tions on ISA will be car­ried out to en­sure pro­tec­tion of mil­i­tary in­for­ma­tion and thus fa­cil­i­tate greater tech­nol­ogy shar­ing.

Mil­i­tary to Mil­i­tary Ties. con­sid­er­ing the rapidly grow­ing mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary ties, the two sides com­mit­ted to the creation of a new, tri-ser­vices ex­er­cise. It was also de­cided to start ex­changes between the US Naval Forces cen­tral com­mand (NAVcENT) and the In­dian Navy, un­der­scor­ing the im­por­tance of deep­en­ing their mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion in the western In­dian Ocean.

De­fense Tech­nol­ogy and Trade Ini­tia­tive (DTTI). Ac­knowl­edg­ing the unique role of tech­nol­ogy in the In­dia-US de­fense part­ner­ship, the Min­is­ters reaf­firmed to pur­sue and en­large DTTI and wel­comed the con­clu­sion of a Me­moran­dum of In­tent (MoI) between the US De­fense In­no­va­tion Unit (DIU) and the In­dian De­fence In­nova-

tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion – In­no­va­tion for De­fence Ex­cel­lence (DIO-iDEX).

Counter-ter­ror­ism. Fur­ther en­hance the bi­lat­eral counter-ter­ror­ism co­op­er­a­tion and to im­ple­ment UN Se­cu­rity coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2396 on re­turn­ing for­eign ter­ror­ist fighters. They com­mit­ted to en­hance their on­go­ing co­op­er­a­tion in mul­ti­lat­eral fora such as the UN and Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force (to counter money laun­der­ing). The Min­is­ters de­nounced any use of ter­ror­ist prox­ies in the re­gion and in this con­text, they called on Pak­istan to en­sure that the ter­ri­tory un­der its con­trol is not used to launch ter­ror­ist at­tacks on other coun­tries. On the eve of the 10-year an­niver­sary of the 26/11 Mum­bai at­tack, they called on Pak­istan to bring to jus­tice ex­pe­di­tiously the per­pe­tra­tors of the Mum­bai, Pathankot, Uri and other cross-bor­der ter­ror­ist at­tacks. The Min­is­ters wel­comed the launch of a bi­lat­eral di­a­logue on des­ig­na­tion of ter­ror­ists in 2017, which is strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion and ac­tion against ter­ror­ist groups, in­clud­ing Al-Qaida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayy­iba, Jaish-e-Mo­ham­mad, hizb-ul Mu­jahideen, the haqqani Net­work, Tehrik-i-Tal­iban Pak­istan, D-Com­pany, and their af­fil­i­ates. This also in­cluded to en­sure a sta­ble cy­berspace en­vi­ron­ment and to pre­vent cy­ber-at­tacks.

Part­ners in the Indo-Pa­cific and Be­yond. Co­op­er­a­tion in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion was re­viewed, not­ing that the com­mon prin­ci­ples for the re­gion ar­tic­u­lated in the In­dia-US Joint State­ment of June 2017 have been fur­ther am­pli­fied by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at Danang, Viet­nam on Novem­ber 10, 2017, and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in Sin­ga­pore at the Shangri-La Di­a­logue on June 1, 2018. Reaf­firmed their shared com­mit­ment to a united, sov­er­eign, demo­cratic, in­clu­sive, sta­ble, pros­per­ous, and peace­ful Afghanistan. The US ac­knowl­edged In­dia’s long­stand­ing and on­go­ing con­tri­bu­tions of eco­nomic as­sis­tance to Afghanistan. In turn In­dia wel­comed the re­cent US-North Korea sum­mit. The US re­it­er­ated its full sup­port for In­dia’s im­me­di­ate ac­ces­sion to the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group.

Pro­mot­ing Pros­per­ity and Peo­ple-toPeo­ple Ties. The Min­is­ters recog­nised the im­por­tance for in­creas­ing bi­lat­eral trade, in­vest­ment, in­no­va­tion and job creation in both coun­tries. Both sides com­mit­ted to fur­ther ex­pand­ing and bal­anc­ing the trade and eco­nomic part­ner­ship con­sis­tent with their lead­ers’ 2017 Joint State­ment. Both sides looked for­ward to full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the civil nu­clear en­ergy part­ner­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion between Nu­clear Power cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia Limited and West­ing­house Elec­tric com­pany for the es­tab­lish­ment of six nu­clear power plants in In­dia.

2019 Meet­ing. It was also an­nounced that the next 2+2 meet­ing is to be held in the US in 2019.

De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man’s press state­ment af­ter In­dia-US 2+2 di­a­logue (salient ex­cerpts)

De­fence Min­siter Nir­mala Sithara­man started her state­ment by thank­ing Sec­re­taries Mat­tis and Pom­peo for their vi­sion and com­mit­ment and deeply value their sup­port for stronger ties between In­dia and the US. The com­mit­ment of In­dia and the US to de­fend our shared demo­cratic val­ues and ex­pand on our com­mon in­ter­ests is clear and un­wa­ver­ing. On the di­a­logue she said that in to­day’s meet­ing, we reaf­firmed our in­ten­tion to co­op­er­ate in ev­ery way pos­si­ble to en­sure peace, sta­bil­ity eco­nomic growth, pros­per­ity and de­vel­op­ment. We will also work to­gether to com­bat the per­sist­ing threat of ter­ror­ism and other shared se­cu­rity chal­lenges. De­fence co­op­er­a­tion has emerged as the most sig­nif­i­cant di­men­sion of our strate­gic part­ner­ship and as a key driver of our over­all bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship. Af­ter the in­tro­duc­tory re­marks she high­lighted the key achieve­ments of the di­a­logue:

Joint Ex­er­cises. To carry for­ward the mo­men­tum built so far; for the first time a tri-Ser­vices joint ex­er­cise with the US will be held off the east­ern coast of In­dia in 2019.

Sign­ing of In­stru­ments of En­hanced De­fence Co­op­er­a­tion. The sign­ing of the Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Me­moran­dum of Agree­ment (LE­MOA) in 2016 and the he­li­copter Op­er­a­tions from Ships Other Than Air­craft car­ri­ers (hOSTAc) ear­lier this year were im­por­tant steps in this di­rec­tion. The sign­ing of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pat­i­bil­ity and Se­cu­rity Agree­ment (cOM­cASA) to­day will en­able In­dia to ac­cess ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies from the US and en­hance In­dia’s de­fence pre­pared­ness.

Indo-Pa­cific Com­mand. The US has re­named its Pa­cific Com­mand re­spon­si­ble for re­la­tions with In­dia as Indo-Pa­cific Com­mand. Re­flect­ing our wider global part­ner­ship, we will also en­hance our in­ter­ac­tions with the US mil­i­tary’s cen­tral com­mand.

STA Tier 1 Sta­tus. One of the fo­cus ar­eas of the dis­cus­sions was on ex­pand­ing the scope and con­tent of the US’ des­ig­na­tion of In­dia as its Ma­jor De­fence Part­ner thus the re­cent de­ci­sion to el­e­vate In­dia to STA Tier-I sta­tus for ac­cess to ad­vanced

tech­nolo­gies, espe­cially in the de­fence field is a very pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment. In­dia high­lighted the ma­jor re­forms be­ing im­ple­mented by the gov­ern­ment to pro­mote de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia un­der the ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing set­ting up of de­fence man­u­fac­tur­ing cor­ri­dors. US has also re­sponded to In­dia’s re­quest to nom­i­nate a Point of con­tact in the US Depart­ment of De­fense to help ad­dress pro­ce­dural com­plex­i­ties and fa­cil­i­tate In­dian com­pa­nies to join the man­u­fac­tur­ing sup­ply chains of US de­fence com­pa­nies. She was par­tic­u­larly thank­ful to have Sec­re­tary Mat­tis, who has spent sev­eral years in Sil­i­con Val­ley, as our in­ter­locu­tor in tak­ing this as­pect of our ties for­ward.

In con­clu­sion she said that the first ever Min­is­te­rial 2+2 between In­dia and the US is a con­crete man­i­fes­ta­tion of the vi­sion of our lead­ers, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, to take the In­dia-US re­la­tion­ship to a new level.

Anal­y­sis

Ar­eas of Con­cern. The two ar­eas of con­cern for both sides were In­dia’s im­port of Rus­sian mis­sile and air-de­fense sys­tem S-400 when US has im­posed sanc­tions on Rus­sia, un­der which any coun­try en­gaged with its de­fence and in­tel­li­gence sec­tors could face sec­ondary US sanc­tions and the se­cond is­sue is that the US is ask­ing coun­tries to halt oil im­ports from Iran af­ter US Pres­i­dent Trump with­drew from a 2015 deal between Iran and six world

I con­grat­u­late Sec­re­tary Mike Pom­peo, Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis, EAM @Sush­maSwaraj and RM @nsithara­man for a very pro­duc­tive first ever In­dia US 2+2 di­a­logue. I am sure this di­a­logue will fur­ther deepen In­dia-USA re­la­tions. @SecPom­peo @DeptofDe­fense

–From Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s Twit­ter page

pow­ers that was in­tended to stall Tehran’s de­vel­op­ing nu­clear ca­pa­bil­i­ties. In­dia is Iran’s top oil buyer af­ter china, and it is seek­ing a waiver from the US. A bill in US has been pro­posed which will ac­cord Pres­i­dent Trump to grant a waiver. Sec­re­tary of State Michael R. Pom­peo is mak­ing his first trip to In­dia as sec­re­tary of state and has spo­ken in con­cil­ia­tory terms in his re­marks to re­porters in Delhi. he said that many coun­tries, in­clud­ing In­dia, “are in a place where it takes them a lit­tle bit of time to un­wind” oil im­ports from Iran. he said that, “We’ll work with them, I’m sure, to find an out­come that makes sense.” he also said the US would work with In­dia on an­other area of con­cern – In­dia’s up­com­ing pur­chase of a Rus­sian mis­sile and air-de­fense sys­tem S-400. The pur­chase will vi­o­late sanc­tions in­sti­tuted by congress on arms pur­chases from Rus­sia, but law­mak­ers have al­lowed the pos­si­bil­ity of a pres­i­den­tial waiver. Pom­peo added that no de­ci­sion has been made on a waiver. But “we do un­der­stand the his­tory of In­dia’s re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia,” he said And added that, “Our ef­fort here is not to pe­nal­ize great strate­gic part­ners like In­dia.”

In­dia’s Gains. Un­doubt­edly the 2+2 di­a­logue has been very suc­cess­ful due to the co­op­er­a­tive ef­fort of both In­dia and US. In­dia has been a true gainer with ac­cess to much needed mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy with the sign­ing of cOM­cASA; be­com­ing ma­jor de­fense part­ner; in­clu­sion in the Strate­gic Trade Au­tho­riza­tion-1; ne­go­ti­a­tions to be­gin on In­dus­trial Se­cu­rity An­nex; con­clu­sion of Me­moran­dum of In­tent (MoI) between the US De­fense In­no­va­tion Unit (DIU) and the In­dian De­fence In­no­va­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion – In­no­va­tion for De­fence Ex­cel­lence (DIO-iDEX) which when fi­nalised will give a fresh im­pe­tus for ac­cess to the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in tech­nol­ogy. The other key achieve­ment was recognizing that Pak­istan is the source of im­por­tant ter­ror­ist groups. Ac­cord­ingly on the eve of the 10-year an­niver­sary of the 26/11 Mum­bai at­tack, the min­is­ters called on Pak­istan to bring to jus­tice ex­pe­di­tiously the per­pe­tra­tors of the Mum­bai, Pathankot, Uri and other cross-bor­der ter­ror­ist at­tacks. Spe­cific ter­ror­ist groups in­clud­ing those which are Pak­istan based were also named which is the first time that US has joined In­dia in nam­ing Pak­istan, from In­dian soil, as the cra­dle of cross bor­der ter­ror­ism. Shar­ing of mar­itime do­main in­tel­li­gence will also give In­dia de­tailed ac­cess to move­ments of China’s navy in the Asia Pa­cific Re­gion. The US re­it­er­ated its full sup­port for In­dia’s im­me­di­ate ac­ces­sion to the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group (NSG) on which For­eign Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj said that, “In to­day’s meet we have agreed to speed up the process of In­dia’s en­try into the NSG.” This a ma­jor step for­ward. In­dia and US have come closer in re­cent years to find ways to counter-bal­ance China’s spread­ing in­flu­ence across Asia, espe­cially in Pak­istan, South­east Asia and the In­dian Ocean.

2+2 Di­a­logue as of now, is limited to ex­ter­nal af­fairs and de­fence min­istries but may be tried out by a com­bi­na­tion of other min­istries also.

The fo­cus of the 2+2 talks has been to deepen global strate­gic part­ner­ship between the two coun­tries and re­solve dif­fer­ences over In­dia’s de­fence en­gage­ment with Rus­sia and crude oil im­port from Iran.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: Naren­dra Modi/twit­ter

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi with the US Sec­re­tary of State, Michael R. Pom­peo and the US Sec­re­tary of De­fence, James Mat­tis, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man in New Delhi on Septem­ber 6, 2018.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi meet­ing the US Sec­re­tary of State, Michael R. Pom­peo and the US Sec­re­tary of De­fence, James Mat­tis, Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man and other US and In­dian del­e­gates in New Delhi on Septem­ber 6, 2018.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PIB

Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man with US Sec­re­tary of State Michael R. Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary James. N. Mat­tis, for the in­au­gu­ral In­dia-US Min­is­te­rial 2+2 Di­a­logue.

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