Rajnath Singh held a one-on-one meeting with Mark Esper (Photo Credit: Twitter @RajnathSingh)
The second India-US 2+2 dialogue began in Washington on Wednesday with a focus on strengthening strategic partnership and taking the bilateral relationship to the next level. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper hosted their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the highest level dialogue between the two countries.
The four leaders were accompanied by their top officials for the meeting during which the two sides are expected to discuss a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. Earlier Singh and Jaishankar held separate meetings with their American counterparts. Singh, who is here on his maiden visit to the US as Defense Minister, was accorded a 21 gun salute at the River Side entrance of the Pentagon.
He thereafter held a one-on-one meeting with Esper and then along with the delegations of the two countries. The two leaders discussed issues related to strengthening defence ties and issues of mutual interest and concerns, including the neighbourhood and the Indo-Pacific region.
"Had an excellent meeting with the US Defence Secretary Mr Mark Esper in Washington today. During our bilateral talks, we reviewed the full range of India-US defence cooperation. India and the USA are cooperating extensively in strategic & military areas," Rajnath Singh tweeted after the meeting.
Had an excellent meeting with the US Defence Secretary Mr Mark Esper in Washington today. During our bilateral talks, we reviewed the full range of India-US defence cooperation.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 18, 2019
India and the USA are cooperating extensively in strategic & military areas. @EsperDoD pic.twitter.com/m0fB1Q9ynL
Across the Potomac river at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Jaishankar and Pompeo held one-on-one meeting discussing bilateral and regional issues. In a brief photo-op, Pompeo welcomed Jaishankar to the US.
Following the meeting, Singh and Esper drove to the State Department to join Jaishankar and Pompeo for the second 2+2 talks.
The 2+2 dialogue on Wednesday comes after a record four meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump this year, including the massive joint address by the leaders in Houston in September.
The first 2+2 was held in New Delhi in September last year after the mechanism was approved by Modi and Trump.
(With PTI Inputs)