IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd November, 2023 International Relations


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  • India, Australia held 2+2 talks.

What is 2+2 Dialogue?

  • ‘Two plus two dialogue’ is an expression used to indicate that two appointed ministers from each country, the ministers of defence and external affairs in this case, will meet up to discuss the two countries’ strategic and security interests.
  • The goal is to establish a diplomatic, yet fruitful, conversation between the two countries’ respective heads of defence and external affairs.
  • India maintains this format only with a few key partners like Australia, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom.
  • This will be only the second 2+2 round with India's Quad partner Australia after the first round was held in 2021.

What is the focus of current talks likely to be?

  • The growth in bilateral ties in recent years has been driven by a shared interest in ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • To that end, defence exercises and talks between the two countries have increased.
  • Defence and increased collaboration on defence technologies are expected to be a focus of talks this time around.
  • The two countries are also working through the Quad and a new trilateral partnership with France. The aim is to address regional needs like climate change, development and telecommunications technology.
  • Besides this, both sides are negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement, which will likely feature in the talks.
  • Ministers will advance cooperation on our shared regional interests, including in defence, security, renewable energy and technology.
  • They will also discuss deepening trade and investment ties.

Significance of ‘Two plus two dialogue’

  • A 2+2 ministerial dialogue enables the partners to better understand and appreciate each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities taking into account political factors on both sides, in order to build a stronger, more integrated strategic relationship in a rapidly changing global environment.
  • India has 2+2 dialogues with four key strategic partners: the US, Australia, Japan, and Russia. Besides Russia, the other three countries are also India’s partners in the Quad.
  • The US is India’s oldest and most important 2+2 talks partner.

Defence and strategic agreements

  • Over the years, the strategic bilateral relationship with its partners, including the dialogues held in the 2+2 format, has produced tangible and far-reaching results for India.
  • India and the US have signed a troika of “foundational pacts” for deep military cooperation, beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, followed by the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) after the first 2+2 dialogue in 2018, and then the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020.
  • The strengthening of the mechanisms of cooperation between the two militaries are of significance in the context of an increasingly aggressive China, which threatens a large number of countries in its neighbourhood and beyond, and which has been challenging several established norms and aspects of international relations.


Q. Over the years, Dialogues held in the 2+2 format, have produced tangible and far-reaching results for India. Do you agree?