External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her American counterpart Mike Pompeo have agreed to reschedule the postponed ‘2+2 dialogue’ at a mutually convenient time and location as soon as possible, a State Department spokesperson said on Thursday.
Due to some unavoidable reasons, US postponed the maiden 2+2 dialogue with India on Wednesday, scheduled to be held next week in Washington.
Without explaining the “reason” behind the postponement of the dialogue, the spokesperson asserted that the US-India relationship is “a major priority” for the Trump administration and it looks forward to continuing to “strengthen” the partnership.
“India’s central role in US national security is enshrined in the President’s National Security Strategy, which noted that ‘We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner’,” the spokesperson said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to travel to the US to take part in the meeting with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis on July 6.
US @SecPompeo spoke to EAM @SushmaSwaraj a short while ago to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
US @SecPompeo sought EAM @SushmaSwaraj understanding, and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US. 2/2, he said in another tweet.
This new dialogue format was agreed upon between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June 2017. After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.
Earlier this year also, the ‘2+2 dialogue’ had been postponed due to uncertainty over the confirmation of Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State. Pompeo was later confirmed as Secretary of State in April.
The dialogue is seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries. The meeting was expected to focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation.
(with agency inputs)