India and the US today inked landmark defence pact, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), to expand geospatial information sharing between armed forces of the two countries.
The signing of the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the third edition of the 2+2 dialogue between the two strategic partners also signals further boosting of bilateral defence and military ties and it comes in the backdrop of India''s tense border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajath Singh held the talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper. Both sides were assisted by their top military and security officials.
In the 2+2 dialogue, the two sides deliberated on a host of critical issues including ways to further expand the already close relationship between the militaries of the two countries as well as broader issues of mutual interest in the Indo-Pacific region.
The inking of the BECA completes finalisation of four key pacts between the two countries which were identified as crucial to significantly expand the strategic ties.
Here are the Updates on India, US 2+2 Dialogue:
The Secretary and the Prime Minister pledged to further strengthen the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership to better ensure the security and prosperity of both countries, the Indo-Pacific region, & the world: Cale Brown, US State Department's Deputy Spokesperson https://t.co/14X6QimPbh- ANI (@ANI) October 27, 2020
Delhi: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper met PM Narendra Modi, earlier today.- ANI (@ANI) October 27, 2020
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, EAM S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval were also present. pic.twitter.com/DJgPgY1BXM
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy matters has a larger resonance.
"At a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. Together, we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, countering terrorism or ensuring prosperity," Mr Jaishankar said at the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
"Over the last two decades, our bilateral relationship has grown steadily in its substance, facets and significance. The accompanying comfort levels today enable us to engage much more intensively on matters of national security. This format is clearly tailored to that purpose," Mr Jaishankar added.
India and the United States have signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). Defence ministry's Additional Secretary Jivesh Nandan signed the agreement on behalf of India.
India and the United States have a number of key defence agreements, most notably BECA, during the 2+2 India-US ministerial dialogue today. Long in the making, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement or BECA will allow India to gain access to precision data and topographical images - on a real time basis - from United States military satellites." itemprop="description
Delhi: India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue underway at Hyderabad House.- ANI (@ANI) October 27, 2020
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper are attending it. pic.twitter.com/1OWPFZwSOk
Rajnath Singh and Mark Esper held talks yesterday during which the defence ministers of the two countries reviewed bilateral defence cooperation spanning "military-to-military cooperation, secure communication systems and information sharing, defence trade and industrial issues" and also discussed ways to take bilateral cooperation forward.
In a briefing on Friday, a State Department official said that India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue will focus on four themes -- regional security cooperation, defence information sharing, military-to-military interactions and defence trade.
The two visiting Secretaries will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence. Later, the US officials will leave for Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia.