The United States on Wednesday scrapped the high-level 2+2 dialogue with India that was scheduled to take place on July 6. Citing “unavoidable reasons”, US has postponed the much-anticipated dialogue that was announced in August 2017 after a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.
For this dialogue on July 6, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were scheduled to visit Washington and meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis. However, this is not the first time that the meet has been put off. Earlier the meeting was scheduled to take place in April but then it was scrapped when Trump had fired then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The news of the dialogue being put off was revealed by Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. According to Mr. Raveesh, the US Secretary of State spoke to Swaraj and expressed his “regret and deep disappointment” for postponing the 2+2 dialogue due to “unavoidable reasons”. Pompeo also sought Swaraj’s understanding and they agreed to identify new dates at the earliest, either in US or India.
US @SecPompeo sought EAM @SushmaSwaraj understanding, and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US. 2/2
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) June 27, 2018
This decision of US comes in the backdrop of India’s proposal to purchase the S400 missile system from Russia, which was expected to be one of the main topics for discussion in the 2+2 dialogue. The issue has gained attention in America where Congress is debating legislation against Russian defence entities. Interestingly, the Russian S-400 missile system is categorized under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
On the other hand, India has always had strong defence partnership with Russia and India has been working on the S-400 proposal even before the US started debating on the matter. Besides, Trump had also pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and even asked India and China to stop importing Iranian oil by November 4. Also, Trump had accused India of charging up to 100% tariff on American products.