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India, US establish TWO-BY-TWO Ministerial Dialogue

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India and US have established TWO-BY-TWO Ministerial Dialogue with an aim to elevate their strategic consultations.

About India-US Two-BY-TWO Ministerial Dialogue:

  • The new format would include External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitleyand their American counterparts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
  • Two-BY-TWO Ministerial Dialogue will replace India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, once described by the US State Department as the signature mechanism for advancing the United States’ and India’s shared priorities.India, US joint statement: Prosperity through partnership
  • The shared priorities include job creation, improving the business and investment climate and sustaining a rules-based global order.
  • The first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue was held in 2015 in Washington, US and the second in New Delhi in 2016. It was seen as an elevation of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in place since 2009 and which focused on regional security, economic cooperation, defence, trade and climate challenges.
  • The modalities of Two-BY-TWO format were discussed by Union External Affairs Minister Ms. Sushma Swaraj and her US counterpart Rex Tillerson during a phone call on August 15, 2017.
  • US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has mentioned that no dates have been set yet for the dialogue under the new format.
  • It is to be noted that two countries will have a separate dialogue on commercial issues, which will not include the foreign ministers. Till last year, trade and commercial issues were discussed in the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the Trade Policy Forum.

TWO-By-TWO Dialogues with other countries:

  • The US has strategic consultations in this format with key partners and allies including Australia, Japan and the Philippines.
  • India has had a dialogue in the TWO-By-Two format with Japan with secretaries or senior-most bureaucrats from the foreign and defense ministries engaging each other.