During the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi today, the two countries signed a landmark defence pact, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). India, US held third round of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue today. The two sides inked BECA, a landmark defence pact on sharing of high-end military technology, geospatial maps and classified satellite data. Mike Pompeo did not shy away from naming China in the joint presser

New Delhi: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in India for the third edition of India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, on Tuesday sent out a message to China while assuring New Delhi of full support from Washington as it deals with the threat on its border.

Addressing a joint press briefing with US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Pompeo minced no words in saying that the ruling Chinese Communist Party is no friend to democracy, rule of law and transparency.

“Our leaders and citizens see with increasing clarity that the Chinese Communist Party is no friend to democracy, rule of law, transparency... I'm glad to say India and the US are taking all steps to strengthen cooperation against all threats and not just those posed by the CCP,” said Pompeo.

The US Secretary of State did not shy away from mentioning the June 15 Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and China also lost an unspecified number of troops.

“We visited the National War Memorial to honour brave men and women of Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world's largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA in Galwan Valley. The US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty and liberty,” Pompeo stressed, in a message that expressed solidarity with India amid the ongoing border dispute with China in eastern Ladakh.

“The US and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, we've expanded our cooperation on cyber issues, our navies have held joint exercises in the Indian Ocean,” the top US official said.

We discussed the cooperation "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 added.

Pompeo said the United States values India as a multilateral partner. “Whether it is through the QUAD, making Afghan peace negotiation successful or working together during India's upcoming term on the UN Security Council, we continue to support India's permanent membership of the UNSC,” he said, clearly spelling out Washington’s support for India to join the high table at the UNSC.

As democracies, the US and India are better aligned to protect our shared values, said Pompeo and further underlined the basis for a strengthened relationship between the two countries.

‘India A Key Player In Indo-Pacific’

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper, meanwhile, spoke about the wider Indo-Pacific region and said the bilateral partnership was a key to ensuring security in the region.

“As the world confronts a global pandemic and growing security challenges, the India-US partnership is more important than ever to ensure security, stability and prosperity of the region and the world,” Esper said.

“Based on our shared values and common interests, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, particularly in light of increasing aggression and destabilising activities by China,” the US Defence Secretary said, accusing Beijing of seeking to create instability in the region.

“Our defence cooperation continues to grow,” Esper stressed after the conclusion of Indo-US 2+2 talks.

‘BECA A Significant Move’

Rajnath Singh, on his part, stated that the two sides have agreed to uphold a rules-based international order and described the signing of BECA a significant move.

“Our military-to-military cooperation is progressing very well. In two days of meetings, we also explored probable capacity building and other joint cooperation activities in third countries including our neighbourhood and beyond."

“We also agreed that upholding rules-based international order respecting rule of law and freedom of navigation in the international sea and uploading territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states are essential,” the Indian Defence Minister said.

“We held a comprehensive discussion on a range of key issues. We reaffirmed our commitment to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The inking of BECA with the US a significant move,” he added.

Jaishankar also stressed on the need to have peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The Indo Pacific region was the particular focus of our talks. We reiterated the importance of stability and peace and prosperity for all countries in this region. Discussions also covered developments in our neighbouring countries. We made clear that cross-border terrorism is completely unacceptable,” the EAM said.

Earlier, during the 2+2 talks here, India and the United States signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). The document was signed on behalf of India by MoD’s Additional Secretary Jivesh Nandan.

BECA is a landmark defence pact which provides for sharing of high-end military technology, geospatial maps and classified satellite data between the militaries of the two countries.

Also, both Pompeo and Esper called on PM Narendra Modi earlier today. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, EAM Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval were also present during the meet.