STATE TIMES NEWS
New Delhi: India and the US will ink a landmark defence pact on Tuesday that will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between their militaries, officials said after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks with his US counterpart Mark T Esper here.During the talks, Singh and Esper explored ways to further deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, enhance military-to-military ties, and reviewed key regional security challenges including in India’s neighbourhood, officials said.The sources said, while deliberating on regional security challenges, the two sides briefly touched upon India’s border row with China in eastern Ladakh.“The two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) will be signed during the visit,” the defence ministry said in a statement.Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, focussing on a broad spectrum of issues of mutual interests.Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived here on Monday on a two-day visit for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue which will take place on Tuesday.The Indian side at the 2+2 dialogue will be led by Jaishankar and Singh.After his delegation-level talks with Esper, Singh tweeted that the discussions will add new vigour to India-US defence relations. “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,” he said in the tweet.In its statement, the defence ministry said Singh and Esper reviewed bilateral defence cooperation spanning military-to-military cooperation, secure communication systems and information sharing and defence trade.“Both the 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,” it said.The ministry said the two ministers also 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 in each other’s facilities.
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