In 2016, during the course of an interview, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was asked about the pressure on Pakistan in the context of Indo-US relations, his answer was telling: he the ties between the two countries should not be seen through the prism of our ties with Pakistan.
The point simply was that India’s relations with the United States were not only multi-dimensional, but far deeper, expansive, and significant than centred around an approach towards one potential adversary or a set of adversaries. Seen in that context, the 2+2 ministerial dialogue held between the foreign and defence ministers from India with their American counterparts this month signalled the strengthening of Indo-US ties.
The two sides, represented by Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh from India, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper from the United States, signed the Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement which involves the sharing of geospatial intelligence and information for defence.
In 2016, the two sides signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, or LEMOA, to facilitate closer military ties by way of joint exercises, humanitarian and disaster relief, training, and port calls and streamlining the costs and logistics involved. In 2018, during the inaugural 2+2 dialogue, India and the United States signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement or COMCASA, which relates to the transfer of equipment that allows access to encrypted US-made communication systems in defence.
The meetings this time also involved the signing of agreements, or deepening co-operation, in the field of nuclear energy, electronic exchange of customs data, Ayurveda and cancer research, and earth sciences. The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic also featured prominently in the discussions.