India and the United States will hold their third 2+2 ministerial meeting in New Delhi next week, the US said Tuesday.

The state secretary Mike Pompeo and the defence chief of US Mike Esper will travel to New Delhi for day-long in-person meetings, rare given the Covid-19 pandemic and the global shift to virtual interactions, with their Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh on October 27.

“Secretary Pompeo and I will be there next week,” Secretary Esper said at Atlantic Council, a think tank, responding to a question about the upcoming 2+2. “It’s our second two plus two with the Indians, the third ever for the United States and India and it’s very important.”

He added: “India will well be the most consequential partner for us, I think, in the Indo-Pacific for sure, in the century, and look it’s the world’s largest democracy, a very capable country, very talented people, and they face off every day, the Chinese aggression in the Himalayas, specifically along that line of actual control.”

This will be the third edition of the India-US 2+2 that with India hosting the first in 2018 in New Delhi; the United States hosted the second in Washington DC in 201.9.

An official announcement with detailed itinerary of the meeting and agenda was expected shortly.

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