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Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and US deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun on Tuesday discussed the upcoming 2+2 ministerial dialogue between the two countries and reviewed bilateral ties, including expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

The two officials also discussed ways to strengthen cooperation at the United Nations, especially during India’s stint as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during 2021-22, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tweeted.

The “priorities” for the upcoming India-US 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries and “expanding our partnership in support of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific” also figured in the discussions, the US embassy said in a tweet.

The 2+2 dialogue is expected to be held in New Delhi during October 26-27, though both countries are yet to make a formal announcement regarding the event. It will follow external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s recent meeting with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on the margins of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in Tokyo earlier this month.

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FS @harshvshringla & US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun reviewed status & progress of our diverse & growing bilateral relationship.

They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the UN, especially during India’s membership of the UNSC for the period 2021-2022. pic.twitter.com/TjRCBvtYzV

— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) October 13, 2020

Srivastava also said in his tweets that Shringla and Biegun reviewed the “status & progress of our diverse & growing bilateral relationship” during their bilateral consultations on a diverse range of issues.

The two officials also highlighted “convergences & shared interests” between the two sides and reiterated their commitment to the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership between India and the US, he added.

Beigun’s visit has coincided with a push by the US to institutionalise cooperation with India in the Indo-Pacific, primarily to counter China’s aggressive activities across the region. During his visit to Tokyo, Pompeo had spoken about institutionalising the Quad, currently an informal grouping, and expanding it to include more like-minded countries.

While delivering an address on Monday night, Beigun had said India and the US “have been too cautious” while developing the Quad, though the recent ministerial meeting of the grouping in Tokyo had made the US confident that efforts had begun to create more “strategic linkages”.

Beigun also described China as “an elephant in the room” as India and the US work towards an “organic and deeper partnership” based on a “fundamental alignment along shared security and geopolitical goals, shared interests and shared values”.

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