New Delhi: India and the United States today said they will sign a geospatial cooperation agreement tomomrrow that enables sharing of critical satellite communications and data to improve their military interoperability.
A statement released by India’s Ministry of Defence after a delegation meeting between Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and US Defense Secretary Dr Mark T. Esper here said, “the two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA will be signed during this visit.”
BECA stands for Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation and this agreement will enable the US to share with India advanced satellite and topographical data for long-range navigation and missile-targeting.
Esper, along with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, is in India today and tomorrow for the bilateral ‘2+2‘ Ministerial Dialogue between the two nations, involving Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar from the Indian side. The ‘2+2’ dialogue will take place tomorrow.
Here below is the text of the Fact Sheet on India-US relationship that the US Department of State‘s office of the spokesperson released yesterday (today, according to India time).
THE US-INDIA RELATIONSHIP: ROOTED IN DEMOCRATIC TRADITIONS AND GROWING IN NEW STRATEGIC DIMENSIONS
- The United States and India have a strong and growing bilateral relationship built on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India enjoy deeply rooted democratic traditions. The growth in the partnership reflects a deepening strategic convergence on a range of issues. Our cooperation is expanding in important areas including health, infrastructure development, energy, aviation, science, and space.
- Holding the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates high-level commitment to our shared diplomatic and security objectives.
- President Trump made a historic visit to India earlier this year, speaking in Ahmedabad before over 100,000 people. Secretary Pompeo’s visit marks the fourth visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Trump Administration.
INDIA IS A REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEADER
- As outlined in our National Security Strategy, the United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power. The United States looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council.
- The recent Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting in Tokyo convened by Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia, demonstrated the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. The Quad has proven to be an effective multilateral mechanism, helping to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency, counter disinformation, and increase maritime security.
- India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world’s leading economic powers and is well positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper.
OUR DEFENCE AND SECURITY COOPERATION IS INCREASINGLY STRONG
- We are expanding cooperation between our two militaries. This includes our navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
- In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the US Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region.
- In 2019, the US and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the US Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army participated in a bilateral exercise with their Indian counterparts. The United States welcomes Australia joining the Malabar naval exercise alongside India and Japan.
- Defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades. India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States, and as of 2020 the United States has authorised more than $20 billion in defense sales to India.
- The United States and India enjoy robust defense industrial cooperation. Through the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment.
OUR PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE TIES: AN UNBREAKABLE BOND OF FRIENDSHIP
- Indian students enrich our universities and colleges, contribute to the American economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans. The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased five years in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012- 13 academic year to more than 200,000 in 2018-19.
- The Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered in Houston over a year ago to attend the “Howdy Modi” rally, the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States.
- The Fulbright-Nehru Program is central to fulfilling the February 2020 commitment by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to increase higher education collaboration. Since its creation 70 years ago, the program has awarded more than 10,000 Fulbright scholarships and nearly 9,000 other awards to US and Indian students, scholars, and professionals.
- In 2019, the US Department of State launched Partnership 2020 to fund fifteen research partnerships between American and Indian higher education institutions in key 21st century fields such as financial technology, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and public health.
- In 2021, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in India in support of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative. AWE will help women develop the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.