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US and India to hold 2+2 defense talks


US and India to hold 2+2 defense talks

The US and India will hold 2 + 2 defense talks today – Photo: Reuters

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar of India will travel to Washington, D.C. today to meet with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

The 2+2 dialogue has previously met four times, but this will be the first meeting during the Biden administration.

The meeting will focus on defense partnership and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. It comes as the Russia-Ukraine conflict enters its seventh week, and after a number of Biden administration officials have expressed disappointment in New Delhi for not following Western condemnation of Russia. 

Expect the Russia-Ukraine conflict to dominate the discussion, as Biden pushes for a large strategic entity in India to formally announce its disdain with the Russian invasion. India, however, will likely not change its relationship with Russia, as they have gained a $530 million increase in exports to the country since April of last year, and are long reliant on Russian weaponry. India will likely hold its neutrality in the conflict as it aims to continue its strong economic rebound from the pandemic. Expect the US to push for more defensive cooperation with India in order to reduce their reliance on Russian weapons.

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