India to ink deal to access high-end military technology from US

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New Delhi: India and the US will ink a landmark defence pact on Tuesday that will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between their militaries, officials said after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging talks with his US counterpart Mark T Esper here.

During the talks, Singh and Esper explored ways to further deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, enhance military-to-military ties, and reviewed key regional security challenges including in India’s neighbourhood, officials said.

The sources said, while deliberating on regional security challenges, the two sides briefly touched upon 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.

Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, focussing on a broad spectrum of issues of mutual interests.

Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived here 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. After his delegation-level talks with Esper, Singh tweeted that the discussions will add new vigour to India-US defence relations.

The issue of China’s aggressive military behaviour is expected to figure prominently during Tuesday’s talks, sources indicated.