India and the United States of America recently held their fourth 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Both countries reaffirmed the importance of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership to international peace and security during the dialogue. They discussed Global Partnership and Indo-Pacific Cooperation, as well as strengthening bilateral commerce and trade relations for mutual prosperity, collaboration in clean energy, science, technology, cyber security, and space, and partnership in global health. The meeting took place after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s virtual meeting with President Joe Biden. The first 2+2 ministerial dialogue took place in September 2019. After the meeting of the Prime Minister and President, both countries’ defence and foreign ministers attend the2+2 dialogue. In their 11 April discussion, both countries emphasize the critical importance of their partnership for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Regions. They signed a Space Situational Awareness Agreement between India’s Department of Space and the United States Department of Defense.
Under PM Shri Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is engaging the West on its terms and placing the country’s interests paramount in dealing with major powers in bilateral and multilateral forums. Last year, the Indian leadership took the same approach to meet its defence requirements, inking a deal for the S-400 missile defence system despite pressure from the US to cancel the deal with Russia.
They shared a desire to increase the scope and complexity of our military exercises. Both expressed happiness over India’s joining the multilateral Combined Maritime Force (CMF) as an Associate Partner based in Bahrain. It will strengthen cooperation in regional security in the Western Indian Ocean. Both countries welcome the progress made in the last year in developing a positive and constructive agenda for the Quad to deliver peace and prosperity to the region in pursuance of their shared vision for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The US reaffirmed its support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council as well as its admission to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. Recognizing India’s distinguished history of leading peacekeeping missions, the US welcomed India’s commitment to participate in multilateral peacekeeping training in 2022, expand joint capacity-building efforts with third-country partners, and launch a new joint National Investigation Officers Training of Trainers course in collaboration with the UN.
The United States recently signed the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement (ISA). India welcomed the US move and looked forward to supporting projects that would increase the availability of reliable and affordable solar power, such as the $500 million investment by the DFC in First Solar’s facility in India to manufacture solar panels. The United States has expressed its full support for India’s upcoming G20 presidency, which will run from December 2022 to November 2023. In this context, the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate closely on global security, social, and economic issues of global interest and impact. In 2020 2+2 dialogue India and US had signed Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Intelligence. In the review meeting in fourth ministerial dialogue, both countries appreciated the progress was made to execute BECA.
While taking questions from the media at a joint press conference in Washington, Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar’s response clearly demonstrates that India, under Modi, is engaging with the West on its terms.A journalist from Al Jazeera Railand Jordan asked Indian ministers, “Keeping in mind that all four of you have talked about deep friendship and alliance between the US and India…. Is it not problematic that after 48 days of the war, India has not condemned Russia’s invasion….. several reports suggest that Moscow and Delhi are trying to work out some sort of currency exchange for future energy purchases. Did you tell Minister Jaishankar that there could be a risk of violating current sanctions and the risk of violating CAATSA? Ministers Singh and Jaishankar, why not condemn Russia’s invasion? Would not this best reflect India’s foreign policy goal and international standing?”
Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar replied, “As Secretary Antony Blinken has pointed out, we have made several statements which outline our position in the UN and in Indian parliament and other forums. And briefly, those positions state that we are against conflict; we are for an urgent cessation of violence, and we are prepared to contribute in multiple ways to these objectives.” Shri Jaishankar added, “I notice you refer to oil purchases from Russia. I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe, which probably we do buy some energy which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect, looking at the figures, I suspect that our total purchase for the month would probably be less than what Europe does in an afternoon. So, you might think about that. ”Dr. jaishankar said that they had a decent sense of what was in their interest and he knew how to protect it and advance it. US Foreing secretary Blinken also acknowledge the India’s energy requirement by saying that every country have different location and different need of energy.
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on April 13, addressing the press responded to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s unsubstantiated remarks that the US was monitoring recent developments in human rights abuses by some governments, police, and prison officials.
Responding to the Blinken remarks, Dr. S. Jaishankar said that India also takes a view on other people’s human rights situations, including that of the United States. He added that India constantly raises such matters concerning the Indian community.
Dr. Jaishankar said, “Look, people are entitled to have views about us. But we are also equally entitled to have views about their views and about the interests, and the lobbies and the vote banks which drive that. So, whenever there is a discussion, I can tell you that we will not be reticent about speaking out.”
“I would tell you that we also take our views on other people’s human rights situation, including the United States. So, we take up human rights issues when they arise in this country, especially when they pertain to our community. And in fact, we had a case yesterday… that’s really where we stand on that.” Foreign minister S. Jaishankar pointed out the incident of two Indian-American Shikh men being assaulted in hate crimes in New York just a day before he responded to media in Delhi on Blinken’s remarks.
Under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is engaging the West on its terms and placing the country’s interests paramount in dealing with major powers in bilateral and multilateral forums. Last year, the Indian leadership took the same approach to meet its defence requirements, inking a deal for the S-400 missile defence system despite pressure from the US to cancel the deal with Russia.