India, on Thursday, noted that it was “in communication with China with a view to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution to the border situation in eastern Ladakh,” and that there was “no connection between this matter and any extraneous issue.'' Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava was responding to the Chinese criticism of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assurance that the US will back India against any threat to its sovereignty.
Reacting to Pompeo's comment, China had said the boundary question is a bilateral matter between China and India and that there is no space for a third party to intervene.
Srivastava, however, clarified that the Indo-Pacific featured prominently in the 2+2 talks. “We reiterated the importance of peace, stability and prosperity for all countries in this region,'' he said, adding, “That is possible only by upholding the rules based international order, ensuring the freedom of navigation in the international seas, promoting open connectivity and respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.”
China hasn't been happy about the allies India has made. At 2+2 ministerial dialogue, Pompeo spoke openly about the Indian soldiers killed by the PLA forces in Galwan, and said the two sides were strengthening cooperation “against all manner of threats”. China responded immediately, calling out the third party intervention in the bilateral issue.
India and the US signed BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) for geospatial cooperation, the last of the three important pacts that are required for intensive defence cooperation with the US. The other two are COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), a pact on communications compatibility, and the LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), a logistics exchange agreement that allows the two countries to avail of victuals, fuel and other logistic support for each others' military.
A few weeks ago, India met the other Quad members (Australia, US and Japan) at the foreign ministers' level summit in Tokyo. In the coming days, the Malabar naval exercise will be held at the Indian waters. This is the first time that Australia will also participate in what was originally and Indo-US exercise; Japan joined later. With Australia's participation, Malabar has become a naval exercise of the Quad members. Clearly, China is none too happy with these developments. Pompeo's visits to other players in the Indo-Pacific region—Sri Lanka, Maldives, Vietnam and Indonesia—is also significant. In fact, the US has decided to open an embassy in Male. Maldives, under the dispensation of Abdulla Yameen has tilted heavily towards China, but India has wooed the country back over the last year.