Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

What is the ‘2+2’ format of dialogue between India and the US?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 2+2 Format

Mains level : Read the attached story

The fourth ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and the United States is underway in Washington DC.

2+2 talks between India and allies

  • The 2+2 dialogue is a format of meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues.
  • A 2+2 ministerial dialogue enables the partners to better understand and appreciate each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities taking into account political factors on both sides.
  • This helps to build a stronger, more integrated strategic relationship in a rapidly changing global environment.
  • India has 2+2 dialogues with four key strategic partners: US, Australia, Japan, and RUSSIA.

Inception of the idea

  • The inaugural 2+2 dialogue with Australia was held in September 2021 when Jaishankar and Singh met with their counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton in New Delhi.
  • India held its first 2+2 dialogue with Russia in December last year, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited India.
  • The first India-Japan talks in the 2+2 format were held on November 30, 2019 in New Delhi.

Dialogue with the US

  • The US is India’s oldest and most important 2+2 talks partner.
  • The first 2+2 dialogue between the two countries was held during the Trump Administration.
  • It hosted then-Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and then-Secretary of Defence James Mattis and the late Sushma Swaraj and then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi in September 2018.
  • The second and third editions of the 2+2 dialogues were held in Washington DC and New Delhi in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Defence and strategic agreements

  • Over the years, the strategic bilateral relationship with its partners, including the dialogues held in the 2+2 format, have produced tangible and far-reaching results for India.
  • India and the US have signed a troika of “foundational pacts” for deep military cooperation, beginning with the:
  1. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016
  2. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) after the first 2+2 dialogue in 2018, and
  3. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020

Deterrents in ties ahead of the meet

  • There is little doubt as to how beneficial this mechanism has been.
  • On one side, the ‘two plus dialogue’ is expected to abate, if not resolve, highly problematic issues such as Chinese aggression.
  • Even though there is a tonne of expectations from this mutual dialogue between the two countries, the dialogue is also the source of some worry.
  • This time, the US is sceptical of India’s mammoth oil import from Russia.
  • Another problematic pointer is India’s voluminous weaponry sanctions from Russia.

Why a 2+2 with Russia?

  • Russia is one of those countries with which a 2+2 format talk “fits perfectly” in India’s foreign policy.
  • India and Russia have shared a strategic relationship since October 2000, which later got upgraded to ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ in December 2010.
  • To be sure, the India-Russia 2+2 does have a particularly strong signalling component when seen against the backdrop of the S400 controversy.
  • Holding the 2+2 talks with Russia is much needed. This gives out a strong message to the world that India sees everyone to be on the same level.
  • This is visible messaging that India cannot be compelled to choose partners. India pursues an independent foreign policy serving its national and non-allied interests.
  • Having a 2+2 with Russia also means that India is “not in anyone’s camp” and that bilateral ties between Moscow and New Delhi are “traditional and comprehensive”.

Way forward

  • India and the US don’t set ‘red lines’ and are pushing for “an honest dialogue”, the ongoing 2+2 dialogue is an opportunity for both India and the US.
  • The US also understands that India is one of the few countries that could leverage its relationship with Russia to bring the two warring parties to the negotiating table through a ceasefire and diplomatic resolution.
  • For Delhi, it is a season for careful and adroit diplomacy.


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Nikita Brikman
8 months ago

The 2+2 Dialogue is an important tool for developing a strategic partnership between India and the United States and allows them to work together on common security and defense interests and challenges. I’m now interested in a question related to farthing. Do you think if a person is constantly out of luck, can he test his luck again by playing Aviator slot at an online casino? Do you know what this game is and how much fun it is?

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Diana Granat
8 months ago

Nikita Brikman, heard from gamblers about aviator game in India, which I now play with pleasure. I love games on which you can rip a big win without much trouble, if you make the right bets and guess the crash of the plane in advance. Already for a long time I notice that this game has interested a lot of players. Most likely you need to test your luck. Should ever be lucky, I know from my own experience.


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