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New Indo-US pact to curb Chinese aggression

New Delhi: India and the United States have signed the landmark defense pact, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the third round of 2+2 India-US ministerial dialogue on Tuesday.

The agreement will give India access to classified geo-spatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications from the US.

The signing of the long-negotiated pact comes in the backdrop of India’s tense border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper. Both sides were assisted by their top military and security officials.

“Today is real opportunity for 2 great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relations. I think we’ve delivered on that over the past year. There is much more work to do”, said Secretary Pompeo in his opening remarks at the US-India 2+2 Ministerial dialogue.

Pompeo and Esper also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conveyed the US government’s continued interest in building stronger relations with India as well as discussed several issues of regional and global concern.

The reactions from Beijing and Islamabad on the development were along predictable lines.

The Chinese foreign ministry reacted to Mike Pompeo’s remarks in New Delhi that the US stands with India on the ongoing military faceoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). It said Wednesday that the Sino-India boundary dispute is a bilateral matter under negotiation and described Washington’s efforts to push the Indo-Pacific policy as an “outdated cold war strategy”.

On Thursday, India slammed Pakistan for objecting to the Indo-US joint statement that laid bare Islamabad’s support for terror, reminding the Imran Khan government that Pakistan was home to the largest number of UN designated terrorists in the world and it should not “even attempt to play the victim”.

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