India and the US will sign Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) tomorrow

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper landed in New Delhi on Monday for the third edition of two-plus-two ministerial dialogue which is taking place at the time when India and China are facing bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh.

The two top officials of the Donald Trump administration soon after arrival in India got engaged in bilateral meetings with their respective Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh.

Expressing his happiness in hosting US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper at his South Block office, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: “India is delighted to host the US Secretary of Defence, Dr Mark Esper. Our talks today were fruitful, aimed at further deepening defence cooperation in a wide range of areas. Today’s discussions will add new vigour to India-US defence relations & mutual cooperation.”

Giving details of the meeting between the two ministers, the Ministry of Defence maintained, “The two ministers 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.”

Both ministers expressed satisfaction at the close engagements between the respective Armed Forces. “They discussed potential new areas of cooperation, both at Service to Service level and at the joint level. They called for continuation of existing defence dialogue mechanisms during the pandemic, at all levels, particularly the Military Cooperation Group (MCG). They also discussed requirements of expanding deployments of liaison officers,” the Ministry of Defence said.

“The two ministers expressed satisfaction that an agreement of BECA will be signed during the visit. The US Secretary of Defence welcomed Australia’s participation in the exercise MALABAR 2020,” it added.

“The Raksha Mantri elaborated upon the initiatives under the ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT to encourage investments in the defence industry in India and invited US companies to make avail of the liberalized policies and the favorable Defence Industry ecosystem in India,” it further maintained.

On the other hand, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also held a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Tweeting about it, the MEA wrote: “Pleased to welcome Secretary Pompeo. Taking our comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership forward.”

Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a meeting with US Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao who is part of the Secretary of State’s delegation for the two-plus-two ministerial dialogue.

Talking about the meeting, Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tweeted: “Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla welcomed US Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao who is part of Secretary of State Pompeo’s delegation for the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

The two countries will hold their two-plus-two ministerial dialogue tomorrow and will sign the fourth and final foundational military pact called Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation.