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2+2 dialogue opportunity to enhance engagement with India: US

Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer - RTSKREQ

Washington:Describing India as an “all-weather partner”, the US has said the upcoming 2+2 dialogue with the country is an important opportunity to enhance engagement on a range of diplomatic and security issues and discuss how to operationalise India’s status as a major defence partner.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis will travel to New Delhi next month for the 2+2 dialogue, the format of which was agreed upon between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June 2017.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to travel to Washington to take part in the meeting with their US counterparts in July.
But the US had postponed the dialogue citing “unavoidable reasons”. After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered. Earlier this year also, the ‘2+2 dialogue’ had been postponed due to uncertainty over the confirmation of Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State.
“With India, we are looking forward to the inaugural 2+2 dialogue with Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis travelling for these meetings in New Delhi on September 6,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells told reporters on Monday.
“It is an important opportunity to discuss and enhance our engagement on a range of diplomatic and security priorities and really is an indication of the deepening strategic partnership that we enjoy with India,” she said.
Wells was addressing a Foreign Press Centre video conference from Washington on ‘US Policy in the Indian Ocean Region’ during which she previewed her upcoming travel to the Indian Ocean Conference hosted by the India Foundation in Hanoi on August 27-28.
She said India plays a central role in US national security adding that it is “enshrined in the President’s national security strategy as well as the administration’s South Asia and Indo-Pacific strategies.”