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India rules out 2+2 format for dialogue with US

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, June 14, IRNA -- India on Tuesday ruled out dialogue with the US in the 'two-plus-two' format that involves joint meeting between their foreign and defence ministers, saying it has no such practice with any country.

'We are following certain procedure and systems. As far as Defence Ministry is concerned we have not had any kind of two plus two dialogue with any country at the Ministerial level... Our defence dialogue is always bilateral,' Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters.

He was responding when asked about his ministry's objection to hold joint talks between Defence and External Affairs Ministers from the two sides.

'We want to continue the system which we are following from the beginning. We don't find any reason for changing it,' Antony said after flagging in a mountaineering expedition of the Army.

He noted that India is open to direct meetings with the US officials within the framework of the defence cooperation agreement.

'With the US also we have bilateral dialogue. I proceeded to Washington twice on the invitation of Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and he also came to India for defence dialogue twice. I expect to meet the new Secretary (Jean Panetta) also for the defence dialogue at a mutually convenient time,' Antony said.

He reiterated that the Indo-US relations are increasing steadily and the next round of defence talks would be held at a mutually convenient time in Delhi.

India held 2+2 dialogue with Japan at Secretary level last year.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30432104



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