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India & US 2 plus 2 dialogue to be held in November: Foreign Secretary Shringla

WASHINGTON: The fourth annual 2+2 dialogue between India and the US would be held in November this year in Washington, according to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Shringla, who arrived here on a three-day visit on Wednesday following his successful trip to New York, said: "We used this opportunity to have the 2+2 inter-sessional meeting at the joint secretary level.

"We're looking at the 2+2 which will happen in November. The exact dates are not yet worked out," Shringla told a group of Indian reporters on Friday at the conclusion of his visit.

During his stay in Washington, Shringla held meetings with top officials of the Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The 2+2 ministerial dialogue takes place between foreign and defence ministers of both sides. The inaugural '2+2' Indo-US dialogue was held in New Delhi in 2018.

The last meeting of the 2+2 was held in New Delhi and the next meeting is to be hosted by the US here.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh would be hosted by their American counterparts Secretary of State Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin for the maiden India-US 2+2 meeting under the Biden administration.

In addition to being engaged on the issue of Afghanistan, the two countries, during Shringla's visit, had an extensive conversation on regional and multilateral issues including the United Nations and the upcoming Quadrilateral summit here later this year.

Quad is a grouping of the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

The four countries had in 2017 given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the "Quad" or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China's aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.

US Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry is also scheduled to visit India soon, Shringla said.

India and the US on Friday reaffirmed the strength of their defence relationship underscoring their commitment to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific region as Shringla met Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Colin H Kahl.

They also discussed Afghanistan and a range of regional issues of shared interest, as well as key areas of defence cooperation across the Indo-Pacific and western Indian Ocean region.

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PTI