New Delhi: Having taken a major step towards defence cooperation, India and the US are exploring capacity building and joint military cooperation with countries in the region, indicating that the relationship is progressing to the next level and the areas of joint cooperation could include Africa and Central Asia.
A combined approach to capacity building in countries of interest would counter the expanding Chinese footprint which has been powered by Beijing’s supply of arms and creation of dual use infrastructure.
“In today’s meeting we also explored probable capacity building and other joint cooperation activities in third countries, including our neighbourhood and beyond,” defence minister Rajnath Singh said after the 2+2 dialogue.
BECA is the third and final foundational agreement that US signs with trusted partners for exchange of classified information and interoperability of forces.
In a joint statement they described it as a significant step towards stepping up cooperation.
“They also welcomed enhanced maritime information sharing and maritime domain awareness between the navies and affirmed their commitment to build on existing defence information-sharing at the joint-service and service-to-service levels and explore potential new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation,” the joint statement read.
The two sides vowed to increase ties with the US Central Command and Africa Command.
“They also affirmed their commitment to pursue increased cooperation between the Indian military and US Central Command and Africa Command, including broader participation in exercises and conferences, so as to promote shared security interests,” the statement read.
Significantly, discussions also firmed up planned interactions between the Special Forces of India and the US – elite troops well versed in anti-terrorism operations and covert operations behind enemy lines. On joint production of weapon systems, the Defence Technology, and Trade Initiative (DTTI) was discussed and a bilateral summit is planned later this year to strengthen defence industrial cooperation.