U.S. and India hold strategic talks at 2+2 Intercessional Dialogue

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F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets and E-2D Hawkeye plane are seen on the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis during joint military exercise called Malabar, with the United States, Japan and India participating, off Japan’s southernmost island of Okinawa, Japan June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Nobuhiro Kubo/File Photo

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Dr. Ely Ratner co-chaired the fifth U.S. – India 2+2 Intercessional Dialogue, Sept. 1, 2021, along with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Ervin Massinga. The co-chairs on the Indian side were Joint Secretary Somnath Ghosh of the Indian Ministry of Defense, and Joint Secretary Vani Rao of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The Dialogue spanned the U.S.-India comprehensive global strategic partnership, including climate, public health, defense, trade, technology and governance, a Sept. 2, 2021, press release from DOD said.

Assistant Secretary Ratner expressed his confidence that the United States and India will continue to take their partnership to new heights as they jointly meet the challenges of this century, the press release said.

During the high-level meeting, officials exchanged views on a range of regional issues of shared interest, including in South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, and the Western Indian Ocean. They identified opportunities for enhanced cooperation on maritime security, regional connectivity, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, DOD said.

In the backdrop of several defense cooperation agreements in place, officials committed to driving greater interoperability between the U.S. and Indian militaries.

They also discussed bilateral and multilateral joint service engagements, as well as ways to advance cooperation in new domains, such as space, cyber, and emerging technology areas.

Discussions also covered operationalizing existing key bilateral initiatives on information-sharing, logistics, defense industrial cooperation, and joint doctrine engagement through liaison exchanges.

Building on growing bilateral ties, U.S. and Indian officials discussed new opportunities to strengthen multilateral cooperation between the United States, India, and other like-minded partners, DOD said.

“Today’s Intercessional laid the groundwork for a fruitful 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in the coming months, as the United States and India work together to sustain a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” the press release said.

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