US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said he the US delegation visited National War Memorial to honour Indian army jawans who were martyred in the June 15 clash with Chinese forces in Galwan Valley.
"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. US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty, liberty," Pompeo said in a joint statement after India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajath Singh held the talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper. Both sides were assisted by their top military and security officials.
Meanwhile, speaking at the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy matters has a larger resonance.
"At a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. Together, we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, countering terrorism or ensuring prosperity," Jaishankar said.
"Over the last two decades, our bilateral relationship has grown steadily in its substance, facets and significance. The accompanying comfort levels today enable us to engage much more intensively on matters of national security. This format is clearly tailored to that purpose," Jaishankar added.
Jaishankar pointed out, "In a more uncertain world with much greater stresses and sharper faultlines. For most countries, that means giving security a greater salience in their foreign policy. As major powers, this is even more so in our case." The external affairs minister added, "Together, we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, countering terrorism or ensuring prosperity."
Jaishankar and Pompeo also agreed that US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership is "critical to the security and prosperity" of both the countries, the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
Pompeo and Jaishankar also discussed a wide range of issues on Monday during the meeting ranging from addressing the shared challenges of COVID-19 and responding to regional security issues, to collaborating on vaccine development and economic prosperity, according to the US State Department.
India and the US also inked a landmark defence agreement that will allow sharing of high-end military technology, classified satellite data and critical information between the two countries.
The signing of the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the third edition of the 2+2 dialogue between the two strategic partners also signals further boosting of bilateral defence and military ties and it comes in the backdrop of India's tense border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
In the 2+2 dialogue, the two sides deliberated on a host of critical issues including ways to further expand the already close relationship between the militaries of the two countries as well as broader issues of mutual interest in the Indo-Pacific region.
The inking of the BECA completes finalisation of four key pacts between the two countries which were identified as crucial to significantly expand the strategic ties.
A key pact called General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed by the two countries in 2002. The GSOMIA provides for specific measures to ensure security standards for safeguarding critical information shared by the US with India.
In a major move in 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
The two countries inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies as well as provide for deeper cooperation.
India and the US signed another pact called COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 that provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for sale of high end technology from the US to India.
About BECA, officials said the agreement will give India access to classified geo-spatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications from the US.