The goal of a ‘two plus two dialogue’ is to establish a diplomatic, yet fruitful, conversation between two countries’ respective heads of defence and external affairs.
India and the US recently announced their rescheduled meeting for a 2+2 dialogue on September 6. It had been scheduled and later postponed twice by the US after the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State. The dialogue was mutually announced by the two countries last summer, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successful meeting with Trump. Now that the dialogue has resurfaced the calendar, not to mention the media, one might want to know what it means to have a 2+2 dialogue.
2+2 dialogue explained
A ‘two plus two dialogue’ is a term — adopted in foreign parleys — used for installation of a dialogue mechanism between two countries’ defence and external affairs ministries. To put it simply, ‘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.
Japan is known to draw from the format ‘two plus two dialogue’ has to offer for years now. Japan leans on this mechanism for its interactions with the US, France, Russia and Australia. India, on the other hand, has established the 2+2 dialogue primarily with Japan. Both the countries have practised a ‘two plus two dialogue’ mechanism almost annually, held considerably before the meeting of the two prime ministers, since 2010. This meeting between the external affairs and defence ministers of two countries helps amass the issues both the prime ministers need to tackle later in their scheduled meetings.