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India-US 2+2 dialogue: Talks on Ladakh standoff, signing of BECA pact amid top priorities


NEW DELHI:  India and US will hold all comprehensive discussion on cross-cutting bilateral issues of mutual interest and will also exchange views on salient regional and global issues during the upcoming 2+2 ministerial dialogue on October 27.

According to the ministry of external affairs, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will visit New Delhi on October 26 and 27 for the meeting while the Indian side will be led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the timing of the dialogue is in sync with that of the previous two editions.

The two countries are expected to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial cooperation during the dialogue The BECA will India to use global geospatial maps of the US for accuracy of stand-off weapons like cruise and ballistic missiles.

“Secretaries Esper and Pompeo, they will also have bilateral meetings with their respective counterparts.  They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and will jointly call on PM,” Srivastava said.

"The third ministerial dialogue will entail a comprehensive cross-cutting bilateral issues of mutual interests. In addition, both sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues," Srivastava said at a media briefing.

The previous two 2+2 meetings were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and in Washington DC in December 2019.

Srivastava said discussions in these dialogues have enabled both sides to further progress the bilateral relationship and strengthen the institutional framework for cooperation.  

“India and US have a comprehensive global strategic partnership which includes political, security and defence, economic, commercial, technology and people to people contacts. We have regular dialogue for various levels to discuss ongoing bilateral cooperation and to exchange views on developments in the region,” he said. 

"Diplomatic calendars have their logic. Earlier two meetings were also held towards the end of year," Srivastava said while responding to queries on timing of the talks amidst apprehensions that no major outcome is expected from it as it is taking place just days ahead of the US election.

The high-level talks are taking place in the midst of India's festering border row with China in eastern Ladakh as well as renewed global focus on growing Chinese military muscle flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.

Both the issues are expected to figure in the talks.

The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries.