In a major development, India has signed the agreement “BECA” with US which will enable sharing of high end military technology, geospatial intelligence and information on maps and satellite images for defence.
It was signed during Pompeo and Esper’s scheduled visit to New Delhi for the India-US 2+2 dialogue with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Indian cabinet on Wednesday last week had reportedly approved the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which had been proposed by the Defence Ministry.
The agreement would provide New Delhi with access to a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data, and help it narrow the gap with the powerful Chinese military.
It would also allow the United States to provide advanced navigational aids and avionics on U.S.-supplied aircraft to India. It will also have applications in times of disaster to organise relief as well as in strategic security.
"It is a foundational agreement, which the U.S. has signed with many of its partners for greater interoperability," the source said.
BECA is one of the four foundational agreements that a country needs to sign to become a major defence partner of the US, the other three being General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMoA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
COMCASA was signed after the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in 2018.
India signed the GSOMIA in 2002, and the LEMoA, which gives access to both countries to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment, in 2016 after being made a major defence partner, the BECA, which facilitates the exchange of geospatial data, was finally signed today.
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