Amid growing global turbulence, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has called for enhanced partnership between India and the US to protect rules-based international order and combat regional and global challenges. In his opening remarks at the 3rd India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi on October 27, 2020, Mr Jaishankar said that most countries, including India, are “giving security a greater salience in their foreign policy ”due to the “much greater stress and faultlines” in the world today.
Foreign Minister Jaishankar,Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and their US counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper, respectively, are participating in the dialogue at the Hyderabad House. Mr Jaishankar said that he attaches great importance to this dialogue for three reasons:“First, we live in a more uncertain world with much greater stresses and sharper faultlines. For most countries, that means giving security a greater salience in their foreign policy. As major powers, this is even more so in our case,” he said. Second he said that over the last two decades, India-US ties have grown steadily in its substance, facets, and significance. “The accompanying comfort levels today enable us to engage much more intensively on matters of national security. This format is clearly tailored to that purpose,” he added.
Third, he said that at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defense and foreign policy has a larger resonance. “Together, we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, countering terrorism or ensuring prosperity,” he added. The past two editions of the 2+2 Dialogue saw the signing of key foundational defense pacts.
India has already signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), Logistics Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA), and the Communications and Information Security Agreement (CISMOA).This time also the two countries are expected to sign BECA, the fourth and last of the foundational pacts. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) will enable India to harness US expertise on geospatial intelligence and help the Indian military get better accuracy of its weapon systems.With the India-India border standoff showing no sign of easing, the BECA could come in handy for India it could help the Indian armed forces to have access to the US satellite image and sensory data. “The formal signing of BECA will cap the process of closer strategic intertwining of India and the US, and will pave the way for upscaling defense partnership to another level during the next presidency,” said editor-in-chief of India and World Magazine Manish Chand.
“The burgeoning defense ties will be further cemented by the likely signing of a pact on defense intelligence sharing and another pact on maritime information sharing. The two sides are also expected to flesh out proactive and expanded collaboration on forging cooperation architecture to shape a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has emerged as the centrepiece of strategic engagement between the world’s largest democracies,” he added.
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