New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar Tuesday said bilateral ties between India and the US have grown in “substance, facets and significance” as both sides signed the key military pact — Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial cooperation.
Jaishankar added that security has become a greater salience in the foreign policies of both countries. The comments were part of his opening remarks during the inauguration of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi between his American counterpart Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“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,” Jaishankar said while explaining why he attaches importance to this particular format of interaction between both countries.
At the inauguration, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was a need to confront China.
“We have a lot to discuss today, from cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region,” he said.
“Together our two countries are building a better future for our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defense ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity,” he added. “I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century.”
“Today I look forward to discussing key opportunities to expand our efforts on regional security concerns and to advance our defense priorities, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between our militaries,” Esper said.
The 2+2 dialogue is happening a week before the US Presidential elections, scheduled for 3 November, while India remains engaged in a fierce border standoff with China in Ladakh that began in May.
‘India, US engage much more on security’
Jaishankar said 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,” he said.
“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 defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance,” the minister said.
“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.