India-US collaboration has now grown well beyond its bilateral scope

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday said that from addressing the Covid challenge, to taking climate action and from ensuring maritime security to promoting critical technologies, what India and the US do together will make a difference.

Jaishankar, in his opening remarks at the fourth India- USA 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington DC, said the India-US collaboration has grown well beyond its bilateral scope and now has a visible impact on global issues as well.

Expressing great pleasure in participating in the Fourth India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, he said, “We have of course, benefitted from the guidance provided by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden through the virtual summit at which we were all present”.

Noting that the 2+2 format is intended to promote a more integrated approach to our partnership, he said this has become increasingly relevant as the scope and intensity of the engagement steadily increases.

“We can truly assert that there is virtually no domain on which we are not cooperating with each other. The nature of our opportunities and challenges are such that they are more effectively addressed through a cross-cutting dialogue,” he said.

“As we meet for the fourth time, we can take satisfaction at the extent of progress that we have made. Whether it is our US$160 billion trade account, our 200,000 students, our highest recorded investment levels or our rapidly growing energy trade, the yardsticks to measure our growing closeness tell their own story,” Jaishankar stated.

He pointed out that the India-US collaboration has grown well beyond its bilateral scope and now has a visible impact on global issues as well.

“A significant focus of our engagement pertains to the Indo-Pacific. We have seen particularly over the last year both an elevation and an intensification of the Quad. Our achievements in this regard have a larger resonance,” he argued.

Meanwhile, in his Opening Press Statement at the Joint Press Conference following the Fourth India-USA 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the Indian External Affairs Minister said these meetings are taking place at a time when the global order is facing multiple challenges and stresses.

“Obviously, a good part of my meeting with Secretary Blinken in the morning went to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has many ramifications. Even countries far away are worrying about energy security, food security, commodities prices and logistics disruption,” he said.

“This comes on top of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, with which the world has been struggling for the last two years,” the Minister noted.

“Quite apart from public health concerns and its economic impact, this has raised awareness about the need for reliable and resilient supply chains. Autonomously, the nature of globalisation and usage of technology has brought to fore concerns of trust and transparency,” he explained.

Noting that how to ensure a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific was also on the 2+2 Ministerial Meeting’s agenda on Monday, Jaishankar said, they spoke of developments in and around Afghanistan that have made their ripples felt well beyond.

“Our conversations also covered recent happenings in the Indian subcontinent,” he added.

“Strategic partnerships like those between India and the United States are built through shared interests, common values and constant nurturing. It is natural that each of us will bring to the relationship our particular perspectives, experiences and priorities,” the Minister said.

“We also partner closely in counterterrorism and maritime security, making the world a much safer place. The integrated perspective that we brought to bear in this 2+2 format only underlines the gains made in different domains in recent times,” Jaishankar explained.

“The economic side of the story is particularly significant. Both trade and investment are steadily growing. We have had discussions today on both of them, as also on connectivity, infrastructure, digital issues, climate action and energy,” he said.

“Our shared activities in space, science and technology and health are also noteworthy. We see our cooperation as having a larger relevance for the Indo-Pacific,” the Minister mentioned.

Informing that the bedrock of India-US relationship, is its human element, he added, it could be the students who come to universities, the flow of talent that defines our knowledge partnership or the indeed the technology and business relationships which promote innovation.

“They are all examples of the human bridge that connects our societies so uniquely,” EAM Jaishankar said.

“In a changing world, India-US ties have not only kept pace but actually emerged as a major contributor to global peace, stability and prosperity. This is not just the weight of our expanding partnership, but also the impact it makes on addressing global issues,” he reasoned.

“Our vaccine cooperation can enhance its affordability and accessibility. Our B2B and G2G dealings can contribute to better connectivity and reliable supply chains,” he assured.

“Our climate collaboration is underlined by the United States joining the International Solar Alliance and co-chairing the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” the Minister added.

Mentioning that the challenges in the Indo-Pacific have also been a particular focus of the India-US 2+2 Ministerial’s discussions, he said India appreciates the attention and energy devoted by the United States to the Quad.

“It’s elevation and intensification in the last year benefits the entire Indo-Pacific. Indeed, the Quad has emerged as a powerful force of global good,” he said.