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India says no to 2+2 dialogue with US

India ruled out any dialogue with the US in the `two-plus-two` format that involves joint meeting between their Foreign and Defence Ministers, saying it has no such practice with any country.



New Delhi: India on Tuesday ruled out any
dialogue with the US in the `two-plus-two` format that
involves joint meeting between their Foreign and Defence
Ministers, saying it has no such practice with any country.

"We are following certain procedure and systems. As far
as Defence Ministry is concerned we have not had any kind of
two plus two dialogue with any country at the Ministerial
level... Our defence dialogue is always bilateral," Defence
Minister A K Antony told reporters here.
He was responding when asked about his ministry`s
objection to hold joint talks between Defence and External
Affairs Ministers from the two sides.

"We want to continue the system which we are following
from the beginning. We don`t find any reason for changing it,"
Antony said after flagging in a mountaineering expedition of
the Army here.

He noted that India is open to direct meetings with the
US officials within the framework of the defence cooperation
agreement.
"With the US also we have bilateral dialogue. I
proceeded to Washington twice on the invitation of Secretary
(of Defence Robert) Gates and he also came to India for
defence dialogue twice. I expect to meet the new Secretary
(Jean Panetta) also for the defence dialogue at a mutually
convenient time," Antony said.

He reiterated that the Indo-US relations are increasing
steadily and the next round of defence talks would be held at
a mutually convenient time in Delhi.

India held 2+2 dialogue with Japan at Secretary level
last year.

PTI

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