Joint Statement: Fifth Annual India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

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EAM S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken And Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

EAM S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken And Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

November 10, 2023

Minister of Defence Shri Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar welcomed Secretary of State H.E. Mr. Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense H.E. Mr. Lloyd J. Austin III for the fifth India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi.

The Ministers noted the substantial progress in transforming India-U.S. relations across domains, based on trust and mutual understanding. Building upon the June 2023 and September 2023 visits of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership in ensuring international peace and security. The Ministers also underlined their strong commitment to safeguarding a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific through mechanisms like the Quad.

As natural and trusted partners with a shared commitment to advance democracy, human rights, and pluralism, and growing convergence of strategic interests, India and the United States reaffirmed their resolve to promote a resilient, rules-based international order with respect for international law, including the UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure peace and prosperity for all.

The Ministers discussed developments in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East, Ukraine among other regions. The ministers expressed mutual deep concern over the war in Ukraine and its tragic humanitarian consequences. They again underscored the growing impacts of this war on the global economic system and food security, with consequences predominantly affecting the global South. Both countries further pledged to continue humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine and concurred on the need for post-conflict reconstruction in Ukraine.

Noting horrific terrorist attacks against Israel, the Ministers reiterated that India and the United States stand with Israel against terrorism and called for adherence to international humanitarian law, including with regard to the protection of civilians. They called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages. The Ministers committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region on humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. They expressed support for humanitarian pauses and committed to continue close diplomatic coordination, including with key partners in the region, to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.

Strengthening the Major Defence Partnership

The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen the multifaceted defence partnership through wide-ranging dialogues and military exercises of increasing complexity and sophistication, accelerated joint projects initiated under the June 2023 Roadmap for India-U.S. Defence Industrial Cooperation and expanded collaboration in emerging domains, such as space and artificial intelligence. They expressed satisfaction with the pace of cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness and looked forward to identifying pathways to promote stronger service-to-service ties and share technologies to address an array of maritime challenges, including in the undersea domain.

The Ministers reaffirmed the Roadmap for Defence Industrial Cooperation as a catalyst for strengthening India’s capabilities, enhancing its indigenous defence production, facilitating technology-sharing, and promoting supply chain resilience. The Ministers accordingly appreciated the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between General Electric (GE) Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India. Such partnerships exemplify the type of defence industrial cooperation that the two countries look forward to pursuing as an enduring pillar of the defence partnership. Looking ahead, the Ministers welcomed the progress achieved towards co-production and co-development of defence systems, noting their mutual interest to co-develop and co-produce ground mobility systems, as they bring the two countries’ respective defence sectors closer together while enhancing Indian capabilities. They look forward to additional proposals from Indian and U.S. companies to develop and produce systems in the priority areas established in the Roadmap.

Both sides recommitted to spurring investment in India’s growing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector, which encompasses aircraft maintenance and mid-voyage repair of U.S. naval vessels. They welcomed commitments from the U.S. industry to further increase India’s MRO capabilities, including for the repair of aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Ministers also pledged to implement commitments by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden to undertake regular efforts to address export control issues while expanding defence industrial cooperation and supporting India’s goals of emerging as a global defence hub. Both sides look forward to further discussions about export control and technology transfers in the Strategic Trade Dialogue and its affiliated working groups.

The Ministers looked forward to the finalisation of a Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA), a key priority in the Roadmap, which will further integrate the defence industrial ecosystems of both countries while strengthening supply chain resilience.

The Ministers commended the breadth of partnerships under the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) since the initiative was launched in June 2023. The Ministers specifically welcomed the Investors Strategy Session convened in New Delhi on November 8, 2023. The event provided an opportunity for private investors to mobilize capital for funding innovation in cutting-edge technology to address critical security needs. The Ministers further welcomed the launch of the INDUS-X Gurukul Education series to enable startups to leverage opportunities in the defence ecosystems of India and the United States. The Ministers also took note of the recent launch of the INDUS-X joint challenges initiative, which will unleash the talent and innovative drive of commercial sectors in both countries to strengthen the respective defence industry ecosystems.

The Ministers lauded continuing advances in interoperability, noting that India and the United States are setting up new liaison positions to facilitate seamless communication and cooperation between their armed forces. The Ministers welcomed India’s full membership of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), headquartered in Bahrain.

The Ministers also welcomed further discussions to maximize the shared benefits of the Logistics and Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA) and identify reciprocal steps both countries can take to enhance the reach of their respective militaries.

Bolstering Counter-terrorism and Law Enforcement Cooperation

The Ministers unequivocally condemned terrorism and violent extremism, and the use of terrorist proxies and logistical, financial or military support to terrorist organizations, which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including international attacks. India and the United States reiterated their condemnation of the 26/11 Mumbai attack and the Pathankot attack and called for bringing the perpetrators of these attacks to justice. The Ministers also called for concerted action against all terrorists, including through designations of individuals affiliated with groups that are listed by the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as Al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The Ministers emphasized the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, consistent with Financial Action Task Force recommendations. Both countries reiterated their commitment to work together in FATF and other multilateral platforms. They expressed determination to counter new and emerging forms of terrorism and violent extremism and the use of emerging and evolving technologies such as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and the internet for terrorist purposes.

The Ministers decided to convene the 20th Meeting of the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and the 5th Designations Dialogue at a mutually convenient date early next year. Both sides are looking forward to the next edition of the Homeland Security Dialogue in 2024, where leaders will advance security cooperation, through capacity building and other activities.

The Ministers welcomed the upcoming meeting of the bilateral Cyber Dialogue, expressed their concern about ransomware and other cyber-related crimes, and recognized the need to bolster protection of critical networks and information infrastructure.

Building Science and Technology Partnerships

The Ministers welcomed the rapid progress made under the India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) to build science and technology and critical technology value chain collaborations in both the commercial and defence sectors and look forward to the second iteration of iCET in New Delhi in early 2024. They applauded many breakthrough advances in the India-U.S. technology partnership, including major U.S. private sector investments in India’s semiconductor ecosystem since the launch of iCET this year. They called on the respective governments, academic, research, and corporate sectors to continue to proactively build these strategic partnerships in emerging technologies like quantum, telecom, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors to accelerate global innovation and benefit the economies of both countries. They welcomed the early meeting of the Strategic Trade Dialogue Monitoring Mechanism.

The Ministers applauded the recent developments in further strengthening space collaborations by establishing a fifth sub-working group, under the India-U.S. Civil Space Joint Working Group, to focus on ‘Space Commerce’ and hailed a partnership-building event early next year. They also welcomed adding ‘Planetary Defence’ as a topic under the India-U.S. Civil Space Joint Working Group led by NASA and ISRO, and India joining the multilateral Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) and International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) by the end of the year.

The Ministers appreciated the recently held Mineral Security Partnership Principals’ Meeting in London which aimed to catalyse public and private sector investment to build diverse, secure and responsible global critical mineral supply chains. Reaffirming U.S. support for the mission of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Secretary Blinken pledged to continue working with the Government of India, IEA members, the IEA Secretariat, and other relevant stakeholders toward IEA membership for India in accordance with provisions of the Agreement on an International Energy Program.

The Ministers welcomed further strengthening of India-U.S. Science & Technology cooperation under the 2019 bilateral Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation and looked forward to a Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology in 2024.

The Ministers noted the growing partnerships amongst education and research institutions on both sides propelled by the Joint Task Force led by the Association of American Universities and the IIT Council of India to advance collaborations in the fields of sustainable energy and agriculture, health and pandemic preparedness, semiconductor technology and manufacturing, advanced materials, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum science and critical and emerging technologies.

Expanding Health and Trade Dialogues

The Ministers praised the recent fifth India-U.S. Health Dialogue, which was held on October 11-13, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The two sides identified several areas for future cooperation, including multilateral cooperation, pandemic preparedness and response, health safety and security, universal health coverage, access, equity, and communicable and non-communicable diseases for future cooperation. The Ministers celebrated concrete steps taken to kickstart cooperation under the Cancer Moonshot programme.

The Ministers applauded the growing trade and commercial partnership and noted that in 2023, bilateral trade has the potential to cross US$ 200 billion despite a challenging global trade environment. They appreciated the reinvigorated work of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and the use of that mechanism to resolve long-standing trade concerns during 2023 and announcement of “Innovation Handshake” under the Commercial Dialogue to enhance their dynamic start-up ecosystems as well as promote innovation and post-pandemic economic recovery and job growth, particularly in critical and emerging technologies (CET). The Ministers looked forward to convening of next ministerial TPF and Commercial Dialogue meeting early next year. They also welcomed the steady progress of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), and looked forward to the upcoming IPEF Ministerial meeting in November 2023.

Strengthening People-to-People Ties

The Ministers appreciated the U.S. Department of State’s launch of a pilot program in 2023 to adjudicate domestic renewals of certain petition-based temporary work visas, including for Indian nationals.

The Ministers welcomed the opening of a new Indian Consulate in Seattle and appreciated that the United States has initiated discussions with the Government of India on opening new consulates in the cities of Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.

Afghanistan

The Ministers called on the Taliban to adhere to their commitment to prevent any group or individual from using the territory of Afghanistan to threaten the security of any country; and noted UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), which demands that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks. The Ministers urged the Taliban to respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and members of minority groups; and uphold freedom of travel. They also emphasized unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance and recommitted to having consultations on Afghanistan to help facilitate an inclusive and peaceful future for all Afghans.

Multilateral Diplomacy and Connectivity

The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of a free, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific and renewed their shared desire to consolidate their dialogue and collaboration through the Quad. They emphasized the important role of the Quad as a force for global good for the peoples of the Indo-Pacific. The Ministers look forward to India hosting the next in-person Quad leaders’ Summit in 2024.

The Ministers affirmed the importance of exchanging perspectives on shared global challenges, such as cooperation in multilateral fora and promoting respect for human rights globally and look forward to the Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. Department of State holding the next India-U.S. Global Issues Forum in New Delhi in early 2024.

The Ministers appreciated the ongoing efforts of the I2U2 countries to enhance food and energy security and improve the movement of people and goods across hemispheres. The Ministers also noted that the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor will enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe and will unlock new potential for economic growth in the two continents. They welcomed the relaunch of consultations between the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. Department of State on Africa, aimed at exploring potential trilateral cooperation in Africa. They also looked forward to convening the next round of East Asia Consultations between the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the U.S. Department of State at an early date.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin lauded India’s G20 Presidency for addressing contemporary global economic issues, inclusion of the African Union as a member, and prioritizing development challenges. The Ministers welcomed India hosting a virtual G-20 Summit in November 2023 to follow up on G-20 Summit outcomes.

The United States reaffirmed its continued support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UNSC and again extended welcome to India’s candidature for the UNSC non-permanent seat in 2028-29.

The United States looks forward to hosting the next 2+2 Ministerial.

Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
New Delhi
November 10, 2023