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India, US Look for Fresh 2+2 Dialogue Dates, Could be as Early as September

The decision for the postponment of the crucial India-US 2 + 2 dialogue was taken in Washington DC but intimated to Nikki Haley, as our sources reveal, only hours before she went in for her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the evening of 27th of June.

Maha Siddiqui | CNN-News18

Updated:July 4, 2018, 1:05 PM IST
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India, US Look for Fresh 2+2 Dialogue Dates, Could be as Early as September
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New Delhi: Last week when US Ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley was asked about when a person of Indian origin will take to the highest office in US, she laughed and said, "a woman of Indian origin is trying to survive this job."

She may have made the remark in jest but over the past few months it does appear that US President Donald Trump's core foreign policy team member is being outpaced by Secreatary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The decision for the postponment of the crucial India-US 2 + 2 dialogue was taken in Washington DC but intimated to Haley, as our sources reveal, only hours before she went in for her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the evening of 27th of June. This while she was in India holding crucial meetings through the day with Ministry of External Affairs officials and minister Sushma Swaraj.

The decision to postpone the dialogue not just surprised and disappointed New Delhi but left officials at the American Embassy scrambling to put forth a credible excuse as this was not the first time the dialogue had been postponed. A source said had they been consulted, they would have conveyed to DC that this "looks really bad". However, the person emphasised that the dialogue will happen and after the negative reaction from India, US is actively looking at dates.

While the US is mulling end of the year as a possibility for the dialogue when Defence Secretary James Mattis visits India, a source did not rule out the possibility of it happening earlier. This as concerns have been raised that India would get into election mode by year end and ministers may not be readily available.

India, on the other hand, is looking at a September-October window when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visits US for the UNGA summit. Sources indicated that the dialogue can be held in "the next couple of months" but as 4 principals are involved their convenience and availability will play a part. A source said that New Delhi is figuring out how to deal with this US administration that is "not able to handle conventional relations" as it runs behind a fleeting glimpse of a peace process alluding to Pompeo's Pyongyang visit as a reason for postponment.

However, the constant rescheduling has obviously left scope for speculation about India-US ties.

From ongoing trade issues, to sanctions on Russia impacting India's defence purchase to the pressure on US allies to reach zero import of oil from Iran - the relationship is struggling on many fronts. But as one source quipped, the American President is handling foreign policy much like he'd handle business deals which also means there will be "flexibility" when needed.
| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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