India – US 2+2 Dialogue: India a Key Strategic Partner, Says White House

Foreign Affairs

Washington: Ahead of the India-US 2+2 Dialogue, the White House has called India a key strategic partner and said the US will leave it to the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to decide the country’s stance on any particular crisis or contingency around the world.

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby  was speaking about India’s stand on the Israel crisis. “India is a key strategic partner. And I think you saw that on full display when Prime Minister Modi was here,” John Kirby said.

“We’ll leave it to the Indian government and the Prime Minister to decide, what their stance is gonna be on any particular crisis or contingency around the world, to include the Middle East, but they remain a key strategic partner, and we’re dedicated to advancing that partnership, every single day,” Kirby said.

This comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in New Delhi to participate in the 5th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is a diplomatic summit held every year since 2018, with the Minister of External Affairs and the Defence Minister representing India and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defence representing the United States. The discussions centre on common issues of concern between the two countries.

Meanwhile, terming India a crucial “moral voice” across the world, Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon recently urged New Delhi to designate Hamas as a terror organisation in India as well. He stated that both India and Israel have a “shared war” against terror and counter-terrorism is one of the areas where the countries align.

Speaking during a press briefing, Gilon said, “Prime Minister Modi Ji was among the first leaders in the world to come out with a clear statement…this was before we had understood the full magnitude of what had happened…I think, that set a very strong tone of clear condemnation of terrorism. It’s important to us because India is a very close ally”.

India is also a very important moral voice in the world and when it comes to terror, India is also coming from the point of view of someone who knows what they’re talking about being victims for so many years of terrorism,” he added.

“I think that it’s also time to officially designate Hamas as a terror organization also in India. Most of the democracies, the EU, US, Canada, and Australia, I believe have already done this, and I think it’s good,” he said.

The Israeli envoy further said that Israel has spoken with relevant authorities in India and the two countries are having dialogue on the issue.

Earlier, India said it sees the attack by Hamas on Israel as “a terrorist attack” and that it has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine that lives side by side at peace with Israel.

Replying to questions during the weekly media briefing regarding the situation concerning the Israel-Hamas war, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law and the need to fight terrorism.

“Designation of terrorist organisation under Indian law is a legal matter. I would refer you to the relevant authorities. I think we have been very clear that we see this as a terrorist attack. On designation part (concerned) authorities are best placed to respond to it,” Bagchi said answering queries about Hamas’ attack on Israel.