India and the United States will sign a Geo-Spatial Deal as New Delhi’s border strife with Beijing continues. The Indian Defence Ministry said that America's Defence Secretary Mark Esper met with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Monday afternoon and discussed co-operation between the two countries.
“The two ministers were happy that the BECA (Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation) agreement will be signed during the visit,” the statement read.
Formal discussions will take place on Tuesday with Singh and his colleague, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on the Indian side and Esper and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo representing the US side.
Separately, Jaishankar met his counterpart Pompeo and discussed issues relating to the “Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership” between the two countries.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) October 26, 2020
Before leaving Washington, Pompeo had said that both the countries would discuss “how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” and “co-operate to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The dialogue takes place at a time when India is locked in a military stand-off with China on their contested Himalayan border. India has accused China of trespassing on its side of the Line of Actual Control (which has yet to be decided) and Beijing is blaming New Delhi for the stand-off.
New Delhi has signed three ground-breaking agreements with Washington since 2016 – Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Exchange and General Security of Military Information Agreement.
This is the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue - the first was held in New Delhi in September 2018 and the Second in Washington in 2019.
India and China (both nuclear powers) share a 3,500-kilometre (2,175-mile) border, known as the LAC. It stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim. In eastern Ladakh, it passes through a lake in the Pangong Tso area.
India controls the western portion of the 45-km long lake, and the rest (about 119-km) is under Chinese control. Most of the clashes between the two countries have taken place in the Galvan Valley, Ladakh.