Washington: The virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden was “very helpful” for the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Wednesday, noting that there is no change in the format of the engagement between the two countries.
“Is this (virtual meeting) elevation of the 2+2? I think it was very helpful for us to have interaction even as we sat there ourselves, between the Prime Minister and the President,” Jaishankar told reporters as he concluded his trip here.
Jaishankar was here to attend the 2+2 ministerial along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The US delegation was led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. The 2+2 ministerial was preceded by a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden.
“In some ways, they laid out the directions and the contours of what was expected of the 2+2 in sharper terms. Obviously, it was of help to us. But I will say that 2+2 is still the 2+2. It’s not a 2+2 plus one,” he said in response to a question.
Responding to another question, Jaishankar said Americans distinguish and differentiate between China and India. “Obviously they do,” he said.
Referring to his recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in New Delhi, he said the two shared their respective analysis of what is happening.
“I mean, clearly, they had their view of it, we had our view of it. But, what we did agree on and I think we still agree on is that the way out is dialogue and diplomacy and that cessation of hostilities would be a very necessary first step in that regard,” he said, referring to the Ladakh standoff.
Jaishankar said there was discussion on India’s security environment and its security challenges. But there was no specific focus on reference to the granularity of India-China border, in the part of the meetings he was present. It may or may not have happened during the meeting between the two defence ministers.
“If in 2022, we have a relationship with Russia, with America or China or any other country, these are not relationships that evolve, that appeared instantaneously and are sort of susceptible to immediate solutions or changes. International relations is in many ways … there is a trendline there are things which happen over time, those are aggregate which builds up,” he said.
“My sense from these discussions, I’ve had people in the administration, people dealing with policy, they are well informed. In many ways they understand where India is coming from. At the same time, I would quite honestly say the narrative the public narrative sometimes is very, very different. I think today, there is a gap in a way between the policy and the narrative and how do we how do we narrow that,” said the minister.