Rajnath, Esper discuss ways to further deepen defence ties

Team India Sentinels Monday 26th of October 2020 06:11 PM

New Delhi: A day ahead of India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday met his counterpart from the United States Mark T Esper here and discussed the issues pertaining to further deepening of defence ties between the two giants.

“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. @EsperDoD,” Mr Singh said in a tweet.

During the meeting, 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.

The two countries have finalised Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties and will be signed on Tuesday, sources in the defence ministry said here on Monday.

BECA will allow India to use US’ geospatial data to target enemy military assets with greater accuracy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr Esper arrived here on Monday on a two-day visit for the third edition of Indo-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

The Indian side at the 2+2 dialogue will be led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The talks are taking place at a time India is engaged in a bitter border row with China, and the issue is expected to figure in the deliberations.

The two visiting ministers will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

The US Defence Secretary was given a tri-services guard of honour outside the South Block in the Raisina Hills ahead of his talks with Mr Singh.

The first edition of the 2+2 ministerial was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December last year.

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