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SOURCE: TIMES NOW

The high-profile 2+2 meeting between India and the United States of America is now scheduled for October 26-27, just before the US Presidential polls on November 3. 

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the US Defence Secretary, Mark Esper, will be participating in the discussions with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. There may be meetings between Singh and Esper and Pompeo and Jaishankar and another one when all four will be together. 

There was a possibility of a virtual meeting and it may still happen, but now, a visit is more likely. This time, the two American leaders are scheduled to visit, the Indians had gone to the US last year.

Two major issues are on the agenda. The final foundational agreement—the Basic Exchange Cooperation Agreement (BECA) —and the Maritime Information Sharing Technical Arrangement or MISTA are on the agenda and could be signed. The final version of the BECA document (the agreement relates to the exchange of imagery, hydrological and topographic data) is being looked at by both sides 

Two other foundational agreements between India and the United States– the LEMOA or the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and the CISMOA or the Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement– have already been signed. 

India also wants closer cooperation with the USA in the Western Indian Ocean region to keep a closer watch on Pakistan. There is already an Indian Navy officer on deputation at the US Central Command. Pakistan comes under its ambit. 

The meeting is taking place despite the Covid problem. A virtual meeting was considered and is still possible but there are clear advantages of the leadership meeting face to face. Both sides wanted the meeting, despite Covid as it is a symbol of growing bilateral ties.