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NEW DELHI (PTI):
India and the US, on Tuesday, began a high-level dialogue aimed at further ramping up their overall defence and security ties and boost strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific at a time China is attempting to expand its economic and military clout in the region.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the third edition of the 2+2 talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper.
The in-person talks are taking place at a time when India is locked in a tense standoff with China in eastern Ladakh and the Trump administration's growing friction with Beijing over a host of issues including trade tariff and the Chinese military's offensive manoeuvres in the South China Sea.
The situation in eastern Ladakh and China's overall aggressive behaviour, including in the Indo-Pacific region are likely to figure in the talks, according to sources.
In a reflection of growing bilateral defence ties, the two sides will seal the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), during the talks that will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, maps and classified satellite data.
The agreement will give India access to classified geospatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications.
The first edition of the 2+2 dialogue was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump.
The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December last year.
The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries. (PTI)