India and the US on Tuesday held the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue with the discussions focused on boosting bilateral defence and security ties. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a time India is engaged in a bitter border standoff with China. The key meet was of significance also as the US Presidential election is just a week away.
During the talks, India and the U.S. signed a long-negotiated pact, BECA, or, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement. It will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, geo-spatial maps and classified satellite data. The BECA agreement will give India access to classified geo-spatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications.
The two sides also discussed China's threats to security and freedom, and advocated for promoting peace and stability in the region.
Meanwhile, Pompeo and Esper also held a meeting with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval at South Block. Officials said NSA Doval had a very "constructive meeting". They discussed a number of issues and challenges of strategic importance, officials said. Both sides highlighted the need to take forward shared objectives and build capabilities across all domains so as to ensure a safe, stable and rule based regional and global security environment.
ON THE TABLE
"We are happy that we've completed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement), which will open new avenues in the information sharing. We are eager to discuss further issues with US," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said during the dialogue.
"Our economies have suffered losses. We are trying to revive industries and service sectors. Our partnership becomes more important in view of current challenges we are facing. We both believe in rule-based order and democracy," Rajnath said.
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
"Over the last two decades, our bilateral relationship has grown steadily. At a time when it is particularly important to uphold the rules-based international order...together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional & global challenges," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said during the dialogue.
COUNTERING CHINESE THREATS
"Today is a great opportunity for two great democracies to grow closer. We've a lot to discuss today-to cooperate amid pandemic, to confront Chinese Communist party's threats to security & freedom, to promote peace & stability in the region," US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said at the dialogue.
A FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC
"We've strengthened our defence & security partnership especially over past year during which we advanced our regional security and information sharing. Our cooperation meets the challenges of the day & principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific," US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said.