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    US & India: 2+2=Stronger Partnership

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    Andrew Korybko
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    Next week's first-ever 2+2 talks between the US and India's Foreign and Defense Ministers on 6 September will strengthen these two Great Powers’ partnership after working out its kinks.

    The relationship has a lot going for it after former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ebulliently praised their bilateral ties last October as being one of the most important partnerships of this century because of their shared interests in the Indo-Pacific, which also naturally implies their desire to "balance" China's rise. As proof of their unprecedented closeness, India was designated the US' first-ever and only "Major Defense Partner" in late-2016 after signing the LEMOA accord for allowing each country to use one another's military facilities on a case-by-case logistical basis.

    For as promising as the US-Indian partnership may be, next week will be the third time that they're trying to host the inaugural 2+2 meeting after it was already delayed twice earlier this year. In the time since, both Great Powers have publicly taken opposite positions on key issues. India objects to the US' unilateral imposition of new steel and aluminum tariffs, though it pushed back its own retaliatory measures from their originally planned date in early August until mid-September after the 2+2 talks. New Delhi also wants to continue buying Iranian oil in spite of the US' reimposition of sanctions on that industry in early November, and it's also cooperating with Tehran on the Chabahar port project for connecting its markets to Central Asia and Russia.

    About the second-mentioned, Russia, India has been very clear in its commitment to purchase the S-400 anti-air missile defense system despite the US' threat of CAATSA sanctions, though Washington's recently passed National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 allows New Delhi to be granted a waiver if it either reduces its purchase of Russian equipment within a designated period or cooperates with the US on critical matters of national security. Bearing in mind the various kinks in their relationship, but recognizing that there are certainly workarounds in place to prevent them from ruining what Tillerson proclaimed as one of the most important partnerships of this century, it's foreseeable that next week's 2+2 talks will be mutually beneficial and help the US and India get their ties back on track.

    Dr. Chandra Rekha, Research Fellow at The Indian Council of World Affairs, and Anand Kumar Singh, Research scholar at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, join the show.

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    2+2 talks, India, United States
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