India & US join hands to tame the 'Dragon'
First Published 27, Oct 2020, 7:01 PM
India and the US promised to boost security ties and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amidst China's growing economic and military clout in the region.
In the backdrop of India's tense border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, India and the US inked the landmark defence pact -- BECA -- that will allow sharing of high-end military technology, geospatial maps and classified satellite data between their militaries. The two countries also promised to boost security ties and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amidst China's growing economic and military clout in the region.
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. Speaking at the joint press conference after the 2+2 meet, Jaishankar said that discussions also covered developments in neighbouring countries and that there was consensus that cross-border terrorism is completely unacceptable".
Noting that India is now focused on recovery, resilience and reform, Jaishankar said the two countries were also committed to creating "more trusted resilient global supply chains". The minister said India welcomes the expanded partnership with the United States. "Our national security convergences have obviously grown in a more multi-polar world. We meet today to not only advance our own interests but to ensure that our bilateral cooperation makes a positive contribution to the world arena. We are also committed to addressing together global issues ranging from the High availability disaster recovery (HADR) situation to maritime security and counter-terrorism. Discussions also covered developments in our neighbouring countries. We made clear that cross-border terrorism is completely unacceptable."
India also called for upholding the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific. "As you have heard from my colleagues, the Indo-Pacific region was a particular focus of our talks. We reiterated the importance of peace, stability and prosperity for all countries in this region. As Raksha Mantri stated, this is possible only by upholding the rules-based international order, ensuring the freedom of navigation in the international seas, promoting open connectivity and respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states. A multi-polar world must have a multi-polar Asia as its basis," Jaishankar said.
Pompeo, in his remarks, said, during the visit they visited the war memorial to honour the soldiers that sacrificrd 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 asserted. Slamming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Pompeo said the US leaders and citizens see with increasing clarity that the "CCP is no friend to democracy, the rule of law and transparency"
US Defence secretary Esper noted that the bilateral defence cooperation is continuing to grow. The inking of the BECA completes finalisation of four key pacts between the two countries which were identified as crucial to significantly expand the strategic ties. A key pact called General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed by the two countries in 2002. The GSOMIA provides for specific measures to ensure security standards for safeguarding critical information shared by the US with India.