ANI Photo | “2+2 Dialogue key part of Jaishankar’s visit to Asia”: US Official

US Assistant Secretary for Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu said that the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is a “key part” of State Secretary Antony Blinken’s upcoming visit and the major focus of the discussions would be towards keeping the Indo-Pacific “free, open, prosperous, and secure”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will embark on a visit to six nations namely; Israel, Jordan, Japan, South Korea and lastly, India.
Addressing a special briefing, Donald Lu said, “Secretary Blinken will be in India on November 10. He will be joined by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. They will be traveling to India for the annual 2+2 Dialogue, in which they have extended discussions with their ministerial counterparts. In addition, the Secretary will hold meetings with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and other senior Indian officials”.
He added, “This is a key part of the Secretary’s trip to Asia. One of the many discussion points will be our cooperation with India to keep the Indo-Pacific free, open, prosperous, and secure. The leaders will also discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas and Russia’s war against Ukraine”.
The 2+2 Dialogue was created in 2018, and it allows the two countries to have high-level discussions about strategic and defense issues.
On being asked if China will be a topic of discussion during the Ministerial dialogue, Lu said that Washington would be interested to know about the discussions between New Delhi and Beijing regarding the border standoff.
“Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in terms of our efforts to support a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific is very much formally on the agenda. I think we will be interested to hear how India’s discussions with China are going related to border issues, and I’m sure our Indian counterparts will be very interested to hear about Wang Yi’s visit to the United States and the announced meeting between President Biden and President Xi at the APEC Summit,” he further said.
Donald Lu said that a key part of the 2+2 Dialogue has also been defense co-production with India and Washington intends to encourage more collaboration to produce world-class defense equipment to meet Indian defense needs and contribute to greater global security.
“Finally, the four cabinet officials, our two secretaries and their counterparts, will also discuss our efforts to advance democracy and human rights, as well as our expanded cooperation in clean energy, counterterrorism, artificial intelligence, space, and semiconductor manufacture,” he said.
Referring to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the US Official further stated that India was direct in its condemnation of the terror attack on Israel on October 7 and at the same time has called for sustained humanitarian access to Gaza.
“With India, we share the goals of preventing this conflict from spreading, preserving stability in the Middle East, and advancing a two-state solution,” he added.
On being asked about the India-Canada diplomatic standoff, the US Official said that Washington is hopeful that the investigation will proceed and the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
“We have publicly and privately urged the Indian Government to cooperate with Canada on the investigation into the allegations made by Prime Minister Trudeau. I know that we have been in constant contact with our Canadian partners, and we are hopeful that Canada’s investigation will proceed, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” Lu further added.
Notably, Antony Blinken will be travelling to India to participate in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The delegation will meet with Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, and other senior Indian officials to discuss both bilateral and global concerns and developments in the Indo-Pacific.

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