Monday, October 26, 2020

India, US likely to sign BECA on Tuesday; Rajnath, Esper hold discussions

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday met his US counterpart Mark Esper. (Photo credit: Twitter/Rajnath Singh)

New Delhi [India], October 26 (ANI): India and the US will hold 2 + 2 India-US ministerial dialogue on Tuesday and the two countries are likely to sign BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), a significant pact on geospatial cooperation, sources said.

The pact will give India access to very accurate geo-spatial data.

Rajnath Singh and Esper met on Monday and discussed developments in Indo-Pacific region, expansion in defence cooperation, intelligence sharing and also cooperation in Make in India, the sources said.

BECA will be a "foundational" agreement that the US has with close partners. India and the US have already signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).

The 2 + 2 India-US ministerial dialogue will be held between visiting US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Rajnath Singh and Mark Esper held fruitful discussions on Monday aimed at further deepening defence cooperation in a wide range of areas.

Rajnath Singh said that talks between the two countries will add new vigour to India-US defence relations and cooperation.

"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 and mutual cooperation," Rajnath Singh said in a tweet.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh were also present in the meeting.

On his arrival at the South Block, Esper was accorded Guard of Honour.

US State Department said on Sunday that the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue demonstrates the high-level commitment the two countries provide to shared diplomatic and security objectives.

It said India-US 2+2 talks will focus on four themes -- regional security cooperation, defence information sharing, military-to-military interactions and defence trade.

The first 2+2 ministerial dialogue was held in New Delhi in September 2018 and the second in Washington DC in 2019. (ANI)

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