Top officials discuss defence, ICT and energy ties, Chinese threat to security, at 2+2 Dialogue.

India and the US have announced five important pacts including  the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), which will allow India access to crucial data and images, and an agreement for the electronic exchange of Customs data between the Postal Operators in both countries, at the 2+2 Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper met with their Indian counterparts Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The officials stated their intention to fast-track projects under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, jointly promote access to Covid-19 vaccines, check cross-border terrorism, and reaffirmed their commitment towards an open, reliable and secure internet in the joint communiqué issued after the meeting.

Evaluating risk of 5G

“The Ministers welcomed the virtual convening of the India-US Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group on October 1, 2020…They emphasised fostering cooperation between their industry and academia for an open, secure and resilient supply of strategic material and critical infrastructure and to independently evaluate the risk associated with deployment of emerging ICT technologies, including 5G networks,” according to the statement.

To counter the global pandemic, the Ministers sought to jointly promote access to high-quality, safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 vaccines and treatments on a global scale.

The pacts announced also include an MoU for technical cooperation in Earth Observations and Earth Sciences; an arrangement extending the duration of the MoU between India and the US on cooperation with the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership, and a letter of intent for cooperation in the area of alternative medicines.

Pompeo and Esper also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. “US Secretary Pompeo and Prime Minister Modi discussed several issues of regional and global concern on which the US and India collaborate, including Covid-19  response, security and defence cooperation, and shared interests in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to Cale Brown, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, US Department of State.

“We reiterated the importance of peace, stability and prosperity for all countries in this region. As Raksha Mantri stated, this is possible only by upholding the rules-based international order…respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States,” pointed out Jaishankar in his speech at the 2+2 Dialogue.

Quad meet

The Ministers welcomed the recent convening of the Second Australia-India-Japan-US Quadrilateral (Quad) Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo on October 6, the statement said. “They expressed their support for further strengthening Quad cooperation through expanded activities, including initiating a dialogue among the development organisations of partner countries,” it said.

The US congratulated India on its non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council for 2021-2022 as well as for India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.