NEW DELHI: The first-ever talks 'two-plus-two dialogue' between India and US will be held in the national capital on September 6, confirmed the US State Department on Friday.
"The United States is pleased to announce that the inaugural US-India '2+2 dialogue' will be held in New Delhi, India, on September 6," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Last week, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said at a press conference the inaugural dialogue between the two nations will be held in September.
The structured talks will aim at developing and strengthening strategic defence cooperation between the two countries.
"The 2+2 dialogue with the US is to happen in the first week of September. The agenda will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation and to follow-on with what had transpired during the meeting with US Defence Secretary Jim Matti"," Sitharaman told reporters.
The dialogue was initially supposed to take place this month but was later deferred by the US due to "unavoidable reasons".
Sitharaman said that the talks were postponed since US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to be in North Korea in the first week of July for unscheduled meetings with officials of that country.
"That was the only window (available to them for North Korea talks). There is no other reason," she said.
The "2+2" dialogue for strategic level talks, which was agreed between the two sides during Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s June 2017 US trip, will replace the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries held during the Obama administration.
The sudden decision to call off the talks in July triggered speculation that the US may not have been happy with India going ahead with its plan to buy military equipment from Russia despite American sanctions targeting Moscow under the Countering America`s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
With agency inputs