New Delhi: Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will visit the US for the first meeting of the ‘2+2 Dialogue’ on 6 July with their US counterparts, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and secretary of defence James Mattis, the two governments said on Thursday.
“The two sides are expected to share perspectives on strengthening their strategic and security ties and exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest," the Indian statement said.
In its release, the US state department said the talks would “focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation as the US and India jointly confront global challenges."
The new dialogue format—agreed by during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June last year—replaces the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries.
According to people familiar with the developments, India and the US are likely to look at ways to insulate their strategic partnership from recent irritants over US trade protectionism, and new sanctions on Russia that could imperil an Indian missile deal with Moscow.
The announcement of the “2+2" dialogue came on a day when India announced that its retaliatory tariff against 30 US products worth $240 million would come into effect starting 4 August to counter the Trump administration’s move to unilaterally hike duties on Indian steel and aluminium.