India has signed a landmark defence pact with the US that will allow the sharing of high-end military technology, geospatial maps and classified satellite data between their militaries. The two nations, on Tuesday, held a high-level discussion and resolved to ramp up their security ties and boost their strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The landmark defence pact— Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)—comes at a time when India and China are engaged in an intensified border tussle at eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh held the third edition of the 2+2 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.
US stands with India against China: Mike Pompeo
During the talks, the US representatives also assured India that America stands with it as they confront threats to their sovereignty and liberty.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, in his remarks, said during the visit they visited the war memorial to honour the soldiers that sacrificed their lives for the world’s largest democracy, including the 20 that were killed by China’s PLA forces in the Galwan Valley in June. “The US will stand with people of India as they confront threats to their sovereignty and to their liberty,” Pompeo said.
He slammed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) saying that the US leaders and citizens see with increasing clarity that the “CCP is no friend to democracy, the rule of law and transparency”.
The US and India are taking steps to strengthen cooperation against all manners of threats and not just those posed by the CCP, Pompeo added.
India committed to peace and security: Rajnath Singh
Addressing a joint media event along with Jaishankar, Pompeo and Esper, Rajnath Singh said the two sides held comprehensive discussion on range of key issues, and dubbed the inking of BECA with the US a “significant move”.
“Our military-to-military cooperation with the US is moving forward very well,” he said, adding that projects for joint development of defence equipment have been identified. “We reaffirmed our commitment to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region” Singh added.
Jaishankar said the Indo-US national security convergences have grown and the Indo-Pacific was a focus of the discussion.
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