An influential Republican Senator has praised the Trump administration’s efforts to strengthen strategic ties with India during the recently concluded 2+2 ministerial dialogue, saying that bolstering the bond between the two countries will send a clear message to “adversaries” like China and Russia.
During the third edition of the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday, the two countries vowed to ramp up their overall security ties, and inked a total of five pacts, including the strategic Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) that will allow sharing of high-end military technology, classified satellite data and critical information.
The other pacts will facilitate cooperation in areas of nuclear energy, earth sciences and Ayurveda.
The talks were led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar from the Indian side and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper from the US side.
“Bolstering the bond between the United States and India makes both of our countries safer and sends a clear message to adversaries like China and Russia. I am encouraged by the progress President (Donald) Trump’s foreign policy team is making to strengthen this strategic partnership,” said Senator Kevin Cramer.
The relations between China and the US have in recent months worsened over a range of issues like the coronavirus pandemic, trade, Beijing’s increasing grip on Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses against minorities in the Xinjiang province.
India and China are locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May that has significantly strained the bilateral ties.
“A stronger relationship with India also opens the door for further economic opportunities,” Cramer said.
Cramer had met high-ranking Indian officials last year to discuss strengthening ties between the two countries and the issues that impact North Dakota, like agriculture, energy, and immigration, the senator’s office said.
“Your personal commitment towards strong India-USA ties is deeply admirable,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said of Senator Cramer.
In a joint statement released this week, the US and India highlighted the elevation of this relationship under President Trump and reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the partnership, anchored in mutual trust, shared commitment to democracy, and strategic interests.
The two countries also welcomed the inclusion of the Australian Navy in the Malabar exercise , which Senator Cramer recently applauded as well.
India on October 19 announced Australia’s participation in the upcoming Malabar exercise along with the US and Japan, effectively making it the first military-level engagement between the four-member nation grouping — the Quad.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the “Quad” to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers. The US has been favouring making Quad a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.