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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 24 October 2020 11.48 PM IST

India-US diplomatic ties to gain more strength; US deputy secretary of state to visit India

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NEW DELHI: In the run up to the U.S.- India 2+2 foreign and defence ministers’ meeting this year, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun is scheduled to visit New Delhi from October 12 -14.

The dialogue, between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and their American counterparts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper, is scheduled to be held on October 26 and 27 in New Delhi.

Mr. Biegun will meet with senior government officials and deliver the keynote address at the India-U.S. Forum (a platform convened by the Ananta Centre and the External Affairs Ministry).

“Building on Secretary Pompeo’s October 6 meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar and ahead of the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year, Deputy Secretary Biegun’s engagements in India will focus on advancing the United States-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and how the United States and India can work together to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe,” a statement from the U.S. State Department said.

Mr Jaishankar and Mr Pompeo held a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on October 6, along the sidelines of the second Quad ministerial meeting between India, the U.S., Japan and Australia.

The agenda for the 2+2 is expected to include defence, economic cooperation, diplomatic cooperation, cooperation at multilateral forums, space and technology and people to people cooperation, a senior State Department official had told reporters last week in Washington. The meeting comes months before India is to begin a two year term on the U.N Security Council.

The last 2+2 meeting was held in Washington in December and coincided with the impeachment of Donald Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives. (There was an intercessional meeting last month). This year the meeting’s backdrop will include the global pandemic and the recent clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and growing aggression by China on several fronts in Asia.

The U.S.’ relationship with China is also highly strained over bilateral trade issues, Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific and allegations over China’s public health response in the early days of the virus.

After his Delhi visit, Mr. Biegun will fly to Dhaka for meetings with senior government officials to “reaffirm” the U.S.- Bangladesh partnership, advance the Indo-Pacific agenda, discuss the response to COVID-19 and sustainable economic development, as per the State Department.

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TAGS: INDIA-US DIPLOMATIC TIES, US DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE, STEPHEN BIEGUN, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER S JAISHANKAR, DEFENCE MINISTER RAJNATH SINGH, MIKE POMPEO, MARK ESPER, 2+2 DIALOGUE
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