Army Vice Chief to visit US ahead of 2+2 dialogue

New Delhi (NVI): To enhance military cooperation between the India and US armies, Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen SK Saini will be proceeding four-day visit to the United States from October 17 to 20.

The visit comes days ahead of the crucial 2+2 dialogue between the two countries that is scheduled to take place on October 26-27. Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and the US are to review the entire gamut of bilateral and defence cooperation at the meeting.

During his visit, the Army vice chief will visit the US Army Pacific Command (USARPRAC), the Army component of Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) and exchange ideas extensively with the military leadership apart from witnessing training and equipment capabilities of US Army, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Later, the Vice Chief of the Army Staff will also visit INDOPACOM where aspects of military cooperation and furthering military to military engagement including procurements, training in niche domains, joint exercises and capability building will be discussed, the MoD said.

“The visit will further enhance the operational and strategic level collaboration between both armies, which is emphasised by the fact India is participating in two joint exercises with the US despite COVID-19 restrictions. These are Yudh Abhyas (February 2021) and Vajra Prahar (March 2021),” read the official statement.

At the 2+2 dialogue this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper will hold talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Both sides are expected to focus on the situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s growing assertiveness, besides key bilateral issues.