The ‘2+2 meet’ was supposed to be the big breakthrough for India-U.S. ties after Prime Minister Modi met U.S. President Donald Trump in June last year.
2+2 is a meeting between India’s external affairs and defence ministers with their American counterparts. The meeting has been tough to schedule, in part, especially after the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was sacked and replaced by Mike Pompeo. On June 27, it was rescheduled once more with no clear reason. This comes at a time when the U.S.-India bonhomie seems to be taking a hit.
The potential areas of friction include “sanctions imposed [by the U.S.] on trade in oil with Iran as well as India’s intention to purchase sophisticated missile defense system from Russia, which also might be jeopardised by new sanctions,” former diplomat and director of Gateway House told BloombergQuint in an interview.
There is, however, enough common interest in the India-U.S. relationship for it to survive several of these kind of glitches, Deo said. “But nobody will say that its at its best health at the moment.”
Michael Kugelman, deputy director for the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, sees the U.S. and India headed for a “collision course” on the Iran issue.
Its very clear and very understandable that India will want to maintain its relationship with Iran, particularly its commercial relationship. India was the third largest buyer of Iranian oil in 2017. Given India’s tremendous need for energy and hydrocarbon, its not easy to just back out of that arrangement.Michael Kugelman, Woodrow Wilson International Center
Watch the full interview here: