India and UK Hold Inaugural ‘2+2’ Foreign and Defence Dialogue, Discuss Indo-Pacific and Trade

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: During the inaugural “2+2” Foreign and Defence Dialogue, India and the United Kingdom on October 16 discussed the situation in the Indo-Pacific region reaffirming mutual commitment to maritime freedom. The discussion acquired a special significance because of the ongoing talks between the two sides for a Free Trade Agreement.

According to an official press release, the two sides also discussed possibilities for further collaboration, particularly in areas of trade and investment, defence, critical and emerging technologies, civil aviation, health, energy, culture and strengthening peoples connect. The officials had an opportunity to exchange assessments about recent international developments including in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Indian delegation was led by Piyush Srivastava, Joint Secretary Europe-West, Ministry of External Affairs and Vishwesh Negi, Joint Secretary International Cooperation, Ministry of Defence and the UK delegation was co-chaired by Ben Mellor, India Director, Indian Ocean Directorate, FCDO and Lt. General Rob Magowan, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Finance and Military Capability, Ministry of Defence at the talks.

Ideas regarding counterterrorism, HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) and maritime security were also discussed by the two teams. “They expressed happiness on the progress made in diverse areas of India-UK Roadmap 2030 including political exchanges, economic cooperation, defence and security, people to people ties, as well as regional and multilateral cooperation,” the press release stated.

Both delegations expressed satisfaction at regular high-level political exchanges and interactions that have provided guidance and momentum to multifaceted ties. The 2+2 dialogue is a mechanism to discuss and review all aspects of the India-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.