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5th Edition of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue 


Recently, 5th Edition of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue took place, where both countries highlighted progress in various areas of bilateral cooperation including defense, semiconductors, emerging technology, space, health etc. 


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding 2+2 Meetings: A Diplomatic Framework
  2. Key Highlights of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue
  3. India-U.S. Relations
  4. Major Challenges in India-U.S. Relations

Understanding 2+2 Meetings: A Diplomatic Framework

Participation Dynamics:
  • Involves two high-level representatives, namely Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs and Defence, from each participating country.
  • Aims to elevate the depth and breadth of dialogue between the nations.
Enhanced Communication and Understanding:
  • Establishes a mechanism for better comprehension and appreciation of each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities.
  • Takes into consideration political factors on both sides to foster a more integrated and robust strategic relationship.
Adapting to Global Changes:
  • Facilitates engagement in the context of a rapidly changing global environment.
  • Offers a platform for addressing evolving geopolitical dynamics and challenges.
India’s 2+2 Partners:
  • United States:
    • Holds the distinction of being India’s oldest and most significant 2+2 talks partner.
  • Other Nations:
    • Engaged in 2+2 meetings with ministers from Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
  • Diverse Dialogues:
    • Covers a spectrum of strategic aspects, promoting a comprehensive understanding between nations.

Key Highlights of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue

Collaborative Defence Systems Development

  • Both nations aim to co-develop and co-produce defense systems.
  • Strengthening the partnership in defense technologies is a shared objective.

Defense Deals in Progress

  • Ongoing negotiations for the purchase of MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Discussions about licensed manufacturing of General Electric’s F-414 jet engine in India.

Advancing India’s Defence Capabilities

  • Deals align with India’s goal to enhance its defense capabilities.

Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA)

  • Ministers anticipate finalizing SOSA to integrate defense industrial ecosystems and enhance supply chain resilience.

Cooperation in Infantry Combat Vehicles

  • Discussions on Stryker and infantry combat vehicles in defense industry cooperation roadmap.
  • Formalizing cooperation contingent on finalizing Indian military needs and establishing a production plan.

Progress of INDUS-X

  • Review of the progress made in the India-U.S. Defence Industrial Ecosystem, INDUS-X.
  • Aimed at expanding strategic technology partnerships and defense industrial cooperation.

Commitment to Maritime Security

  • India’s full membership in Combined Maritime Forces welcomed.
  • Signifying India’s commitment to regional maritime security.

Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Focus

  • Both nations emphasize the importance of safeguarding sea lanes and promoting stability.

India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET)

  • Recognition of rapid progress under iCET for technology collaborations.
  • Call for continued strategic partnerships in quantum, telecom, biotechnology, AI, and semiconductors.

Strategic Trade Dialogue Monitoring Mechanism

  • Welcome for the early meeting of the Strategic Trade Dialogue Monitoring Mechanism.

Beyond China Challenges

  • Emphasis on the bilateral relationship extending beyond addressing challenges posed by China.

India’s Stance on Israel-Hamas Conflict

  • Advocacy for a two-state solution in the Israel-Hamas Conflict.
  • Humanitarian assistance provided with adherence to international humanitarian law and condemnation of civilian casualties.

India-U.S. Relations

Shared Values and Commitments
  • Foundation of the U.S.-India strategic partnership lies in shared values, including a commitment to democracy and the rules-based international system.
  • Mutual interests in promoting global security, stability, and economic prosperity through trade, investment, and connectivity.
Economic Ties and Trade Growth
  • In 2022-23, the U.S. emerged as India’s largest trading partner.
  • Bilateral trade increased by 7.65% to USD 128.55 billion in 2022-23.
  • Exports to the U.S. rose by 2.81%, reaching USD 78.31 billion, while imports grew by about 16% to USD 50.24 billion.
Multilateral Cooperation
  • Close cooperation at various multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, ASEAN Regional Forum, IMF, World Bank, and WTO.
  • Support for India’s two-year term at the UN Security Council and backing a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
Quad Cooperation
  • The Quad, comprising the U.S., India, Australia, and Japan, promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific and provides tangible benefits to the region.
  • Participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with the United States.
Other Regional Collaborations
  • India’s membership in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) with the U.S. as a dialogue partner.
  • U.S. joining the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India in 2021 and collaboration with USAID in 2022.
Foundational Agreements

India has signed all four foundational agreements with the U.S.

  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.
  • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018.
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) in 2020.

Major Challenges in India-U.S. Relations

Historical Differences in Foreign Policy Approach
  • Nonalignment vs. Alliances: India’s historical nonalignment contrasts with the U.S.’ alliance-centric foreign policy since World War II.
Cold War Era Nonalignment Concerns
  • Cold War Nonalignment: During the Cold War, India’s nonalignment policy raised concerns for the U.S.
  • Lack of Military Support: Indian military vetoed dispatching troops to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
  • Withheld Support for Iraq Invasion: India’s PM withheld military support during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Current Policy Divergences
  • Russian-Ukraine War: India’s refusal to align with the U.S. on the Russian-Ukraine war.
  • Import of Russian Oil: India’s significant import of cheap Russian oil, despite U.S. concerns.
Divergent Stances on Global Issues
  • Oil Blockades: Criticism of the U.S. decision to block Iranian and Venezuelan oil.
  • SCO Involvement: India’s active efforts to bring Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
  • Border Talks with China: India’s continued participation in talks with China to resolve border disputes.
U.S. Reports Questioning Indian Democratic Practices
  • Democracy and Human Rights Concerns: Reports by U.S. organizations question democratic discourse, press freedom, religious freedom, and minority conditions in India.
Economic Protectionism and Trade Disputes
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign: U.S. perception of India becoming a protectionist closed market economy.
  • GSP Program Withdrawal: U.S. withdrawal of duty-free benefits affecting Indian exporters in sectors like pharma, textiles, agri products, and automotive parts.
Calls for Alignment with U.S. Interests
  • Pro-U.S. Voices: Voices calling for India to align with the U.S. and “get on the right side of history.”

December 2023