New Delhi: In a historic move, India and the US will sign a landmark military deal on Tuesday that will pave the way for sharing high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between their militaries. The development comes after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks with his US counterpart Mark T Esper earlier in the day.Also Read - Rajnath Singh Writes to Bengal, Tamil Nadu CMs Over Exclusion of Tableaux From Republic Day Parade
Moving closer in military ways, India and the US will sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) during the 2+2 meeting on Tuesday. Also Read - Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Tests Positive For COVID-19, Isolated Himself At Home
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As per updates, the BECA agreement will be signed between the two countries at Hyderabad House which would enhance the geospatial cooperation.
The announcement to the effect was made after the meeting between Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his American counterpart Mark Esper today. Notably, the pact is being signed by the two countries amid the ongoing India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh.
After the deal is signed, the data related to ground and maritime locations, nautical and aeronautical maps and charts and specific coordinates will be shared as part of this agreement. It is expected that the deal will improve India’s accuracy in targeting military targets.
During the talks earlier in the day, Rajnath Singh and Esper discussed ways to further deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, enhance military-to-military ties, and also reviewed key regional security challenges including in India’s neighbourhood.
During their discussion on regional security challenges, both the ministers briefly talked about 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.
Jaishankar meets Pompeo
In a separate meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and focused on a broad spectrum of issues of mutual interests.
Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Delhi 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.
“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,” Rajnath 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).