2+2 meeting: Eye on China, India-US raise defence cooperation

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Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi | October 28, 2020 1:36:39 am

Indo-US 2+2 meetingRajnath Singh and S Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper in Delhi. (PTI)

A secure video-teleconferencing capability between the three services of both countries, and foreign and defence ministries; enhanced sharing of maritime information; and meeting of a Military Cooperation Group later in the year to review the military-to-military engagement — these are some of the new understandings arrived at after the Indo-US 2+2 ministerial meeting on Tuesday.

While the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) is one of the highlights in the outcome of the meeting, these smaller but important understandings are expected to strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries.

To strengthen defence industrial cooperation, the first summit of the Industrial Security Annex, signed at the second 2+2 dialogue held in Washington in December 2019, will be held later this year.

Amid the standoff in Ladakh, the enhanced defence cooperation is aimed at conveying a signal to Beijing.

In his statement after the dialogue, Singh said that “we shared assessment of the security situation across the Indo Pacific” and “reaffirmed our commitment to peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in this region”.

On joint military exercises, the joint statement said that the ministers “welcomed inclusion of the Royal Australian Navy in the U.S.-India-Japan MALABAR Naval Exercise”.

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