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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper arrive in India


Team Udayavani, Oct 26, 2020, 3:12 PM IST

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. (Image: AP)

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper arrived here on Monday for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue which is expected to focus on further boosting bilateral defence and security ties as well as cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

On Tuesday, Pompeo and Esper will hold the 2+2 talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, covering the entire expanse of defence and security ties as well as key regional and global issues.

The talks are taking place at a time India is engaged in a bitter border standoff with China, and the issue is expected to figure in the deliberations.

The two key officials of the Trump administration are also scheduled to hold separate bilateral talks with their Indian counterparts Jaishankar and Singh on Monday.  They will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

In the last few months, the US has been ramping up attacks on China over a range of contentious issues including the border standoff with India, its military assertiveness in the South China Sea and the way Beijing handled the anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Last week, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the talks will entail a comprehensive discussion on bilateral issues as well as deliberations on regional and global development. It is expected that the two sides may finalise the long-pending BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The BECA will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.

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