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US Defence Secretary talks to Rajnath Singh, reiterates support for strong bilateral ties, says Pentagon

The talks between the two leaders came in the midst of the flare-ups between Indian and Chinese armies along the Line of Actual Control.

Published: 29th May 2020 11:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2020 11:49 PM   |  A+A-

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (Photo | Rajnath Singh Twitter)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has talked to his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh and reiterated his support for a "strong and enduring" bilateral defence partnership, the Pentagon said Friday, amidst India-China border tensions.

The talks between the two leaders came in the midst of the flare-ups between Indian and Chinese armies along the Line of Actual Control.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was "ready, willing and able to mediate" between the two countries.

The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said India was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row, virtually rejecting the offer.

China too rejected it, saying the two countries are capable of properly resolving their differences through dialogue and did not require the help of a "third party".

Esper and Singh, during the phone call, discussed a range of regional security issues, it said without specifying them.

Giving details of the talks between Esper and Singh, the Pentagon said that the Secretary expressed his firm commitment to India's leadership across the Indo-Pacific region, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"Secretary Esper reiterated his support for a strong and enduring US-India defence partnership and the two leaders discussed ways to advance several important bilateral initiatives," it said.

Esper conveyed his condolences over the loss of lives in the country due to the Cyclone Amphan and the two leaders discussed the ongoing the cooperation on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Esper reiterated his desire to visit India at the earliest, mutually-agreeable opportunity, it said.

In New Delhi, top government sources said Singh told Asper that there was no scope for any third party mediation on its border dispute with China and that the existing bilateral mechanisms are being used to end the face-off.

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