As India and the US on Tuesday elevated the partnership to India-US comprehensive global strategic partnership, the joint statement covered major areas of defence, terrorism, Afghanistan, and a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Parsing the document, and comparing it with the June 2017 joint statement, reveals some new elements and departures.
According to the statement issued late Tuesday, the two countries looked forward to an “early conclusion” of Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), expressed interest in the Blue Dot Network, added Haqqani network and Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) in the list of terror groups against which concerted action are to be taken, reaffirmed US support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group “without any delay”.
Some key takeaways in the joint statement:
A thrust on “early conclusion of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement” is a key feature of the joint statement, as this is one of the last of the foundational agreements, and it largely pertains to geo-spatial intelligence requiring information sharing on maps and satellite imaging for defence purposes. The US has already submitted a draft pact, and India has sought more details on the extent of information needed to be shared under this arrangement.
“The leaders looked forward to early conclusion of defence cooperation enabling agreements, including Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement,” the statement said.