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Delayed Twice, 2+2 Dialogue With US to Take Place in September: Nirmala Sitharaman

The announcement comes after the United States last month postponed the meeting for a second time this year and as tensions between the two countries continue to simmer over various issues.

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Updated:July 13, 2018, 6:20 PM IST
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Delayed Twice, 2+2 Dialogue With US to Take Place in September: Nirmala Sitharaman
File photo of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: After it was deferred twice in the past, the Union government has gone back to push for the proposed 2+2 talks with the United States. The top-level strategic dialogue with the US is likely to take place in the first week of September, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.

This comes after the United States last month postponed the meeting for a second time this year and as tensions between the two countries continue to simmer over various issues, including Iran oil imports.

The 2+2 talks were agreed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

The United States had since then postponed the talks twice but later said it was a priority for them.

"The 2+2 dialogue with the US is to happen in the first week of September," Sitharaman told ANI.

"The agenda will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had been scheduled to hold joint talks with their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Sitharaman, in Washington on July 6.

But Pompeo postponed the meeting because of "unavoidable reasons", the Ministry of External Affairs said last month.

The meeting was originally planned for April but had to be put off after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the previous month and Pompeo went through confirmation hearings before the US Congress.

On another note, it was reported in the Times of India on Friday that the Modi government has invited Donald Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade and celebrations in January.

Trump and Modi took great pains to stress the importance of a strong US-Indian relationship when they met in Washington a year ago.

But trade differences between their countries have increased in recent months. In June, India raised duties on US farm products in retaliation for Trump's tariff increases on steel and aluminium.

The Trump administration had also warned all countries, including India, to snap trade ties with Iran and reduce oil imports from the middle-east nation to “zero”. A defiant India later gave in to the pressure following warnings of secondary sanctions.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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