In a significant development, India and United States on Tuesday signed the crucial Indo-US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), a day after the arrival of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“Today is a great opportunity for two great democracies to grow closer.  We have a lot to discuss today, from cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan to confronting Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security & freedom, to promoting peace, stability throughout the region,” Mike Pompeo said.

“U.S and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats & not just those posed by Chinese Communist Party. Last year, we’ve expanded our cooperation on cyber issues, our navies have held joint exercises in Indian ocean,” he said.

“We visited National War Memorial to honour brave men & women of Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world’s largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA in Galwan Valley,” he added.

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

“US values India as a multi-lateral partner, whether it’s through the quad, making Afghan peace negotiation successful or working together during India’s upcoming term on UN security council, we continue to support India’s permanent membership of UNSC,” he added.

“Our military to military cooperation is progressing very well. In two days meeting, we also explored probable capacity building and other joint cooperation activities in third countries including our neighbourhood and beyond,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.

“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,” he said.

Addressing the media after the 2+2 dialogue, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “Discussions also covered developments in our neighbouring countries. We made clear that cross border terrorism is completely unacceptable.”

“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,” he added.

“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,” US Secretary of Defence, Mark 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,” he added.