US Secretary Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper arrive in India

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US Secretary Mike Pompeo
US Secretary Mike Pompeo

New Delhi : US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark T Esper has arrived in India for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue which is aimed at strengthening strategic ties. This comes at a time when India and China are facing tough standoff, also the US is against China amid coronavirus outbreak.

During their top-level 2+2 talks with external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, a major discussion on defence and security ties will be held. 

The trip is part of the latest US effort to bolster allies against an increasingly assertive China, which has been making political and military inroads across Asia, analysts say.

Mike Pompeo has been scheduled to visit two more countries – Sri Lanka and Maldives, which share ocean with India.

Meanwhile, India has sought US cold weather equipment as the LAC showdown goes into the freezing Himalayan winter and officials said this could be raised during the talks. 

It is expected that the two sides may finalise the long-pending BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) agreement to further boost bilateral defence ties. The BECA will provide for sharing of high-end military technology, logistics and geospatial maps between the two countries.