India-U.S. 2+2 Likely Next Month
India and the U.S. are moving towards firming up dates for the 2+2 summit involving heads of their defence and foreign affairs ministries. The last summit held in December 2019 in the U.S. was to be followed by the 2020 edition in India but owing to the Covid-19 induced situation, this year’s edition is likely to be done virtually. Not surprising since most of the summits in the past six months have been online. What is slightly intriguing is the date being contemplated for the 2+2. Apparently, the virtual summit to be participated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and their American counterparts—Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—is being planned for either October 27 or 28, a few days short of the American Presidential elections. A preparatory meeting between India’s Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and his counterpart in the Pentagon is likely to be held this week. The agenda for the ministerial summit is likely to include signing of the third foundational agreement—BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) for geospatial cooperation—between the two countries and sale of American weapons platforms like Predator drones for India’s armed forces.