Rajnath Singh talks to US defence secy over regional progress

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and US secretary of defecse Mark T Esper on Friday spoke on the phone and exchanged views on “regional developments of shared security interest,” a defence ministry spokesperson said. The phone call, requested by Esper, came at a time when India and China are locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh, and diplomatic and military talks are underway to break the stalemate.

The two ministers also briefed each other on their experiences of fighting Covid-19. “They reviewed progress on various bilateral defence cooperation arrangements and expressed their commitment to further promote our defence partnership,” the spokesperson said. Esper accepted Singh’s invitation to visit India “at the earliest mutual convenience.”

Esper expressed condolences over the loss of lives in east India due to Cyclone Amphan. People familiar with the development said that the ongoing border row with China were also discussed.