[Exclusive] India, US ready to sign BECA; announcement to be made during 2+2 meeting on 26-27 October
(Representational Image)  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: India and the United States are ready to sign the BECA or Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation, the final “strategic” agreement that will lead to closer ties between the armed forces of the two countries. An announcement will be made during the 2+2 meeting on 26-27 October in New Delhi.
India and the United States have already signed the other two foundational agreements: the LEMOA or the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016 and the COMCASA or the Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement in 2018.
With BECA, the two countries will be able to share geospatial information and intelligence helpful for defence-related issues. This, for example, may help Indian missiles to be more accurate.
Both sides, sources said, are happy with the negotiations that are finally over. The draft agreement has been agreed upon and it awaits government clearance, and then, signing.
The Union Cabinet is likely to clear the agreement before the 2+2 meeting. So, an announcement can be made along with the signing of the MISTA or the Maritime Information Sharing Technical Arrangement agreement.
A special effort has been made by both sides to ensure that there is enough to discuss and that there are enough “takeaways.” The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the US Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, are arriving in the middle of a Covid outbreak just before the US Presidential elections on November 3.
The Trump years have been good for Indo-US ties and this meeting, in the middle of the India-China face-off, is expected to strengthen the already robust strategic relationship.
Shortly after the 2+2 meeting is the naval exercise, Malabar, in the Indian Ocean. Warships of India, US, Japan are taking part. The Australian navy’s participation is expected.