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Postponement of 2+2 dialogue unrelated to bilateral ties: US


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The US today said the postponement of the '2+2 dialogue' with India was prompted by reasons "entirely unrelated" to the bilateral relationship.
In a statement, the US embassy here said the partnership between the two countries was a major strategic priority for the Trump Administration and it remains firmly committed to a strong relationship with India.
Reacting to the US statement, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said the two sides will remain engaged to finalise the dates for holding the dialogue in near future either in India or in the US.
He said the relationship between the two countries was in a firm footing and there was nothing to suggest that there is any damage to it because of the postponement of the dialogue as speculated by a section in the media.
The US had yesterday conveyed to India that it had postponed the dialogue scheduled to be held in Washington next week due to "unavoidable reasons".
"Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo spoke last night with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to convey his regret for having to postpone the 2+2 dialogue, which had been scheduled for July 6. This scheduling change was prompted by reasons entirely unrelated to the bilateral relationship," the embassy said.
Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to travel to the US to take part in the meeting with Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis.
The US Embassy said Secretary Pompeo and Swaraj agreed to reschedule the dialogue as "soon as possible".
"The US-India partnership is a major strategic priority for the Trump Administration. The United States remains firmly committed to a strong relationship with India," the embassy said.
This new dialogue format was agreed upon between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June 2017.
The two countries tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.
Earlier this year as well, the '2+2 dialogue' was postponed due to uncertainty over the confirmation of Pompeo as President Donald Trump's new Secretary of State. Pompeo was later confirmed as Secretary of State in April.
The dialogue has been seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries.
The meeting was expected to focus on strengthening strategic, security, and defence cooperation.

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First Published: Jun 28 2018 | 9:05 PM IST

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