Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) signed by India and United States

On October 27, India and the United States of America signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) which will help India to get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence which will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons. After this agreement, a troika of foundational pacts for deep military cooperation between India and the United States of America got completed.

Before BECA, LEMOA & COMCASA was already signed

This was the third such agreement signed between Indian and the USA. Earlier, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) were already signed. This agreement completed the foundational pacts for deep military cooperation between India and the USA.

What is the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 27, 2020.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 27, 2020. (PTI)

This Agreement (BECA) will help India to get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence which will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons. By the virtue of this agreement, India will get access to topographical and aeronautical data and products of advanced technology that will aid in navigation and targeting. This could be helpful in the Air Force to Air Force cooperation between the two countries.

This BECA agreement will provide a high-quality GPS to Indian military systems with real-time intelligence to the precise target of the adversary. It will also help Indian military services in the sailing of ships, flying off aircraft, fighting of wars, and locating the targets, Other than these features it will also help in geospatial intelligence to the response to natural disasters.

The signing of BECA between India and the USA is fulfilling the commitment in the joint statement during President Donald Trump’s visit in February this year in the Namaste Trump event when the two sides said they looked forward to an “early conclusion” of BECA.

What is the practical benefit of India in signing these pacts?

This will strengthen the mechanisms of cooperation between the Indo-US militaries. These agreements must be seen in the increasingly aggressive activities of China. These increased activities are threatening the sovereignty of a large number of countries in its surrounding countries of China including India, and this has been challenging several established norms and aspects of international relations.

These pacts can be seen from the view of Chinese agressive policy over LAC in Ladakh region. Indian soliders in Ladakh region (Representional Image)
These pacts can be seen from the view of Chinese aggressive policy over LAC in the Ladakh region. Indian soldiers in the Ladakh region (Representational Image).

Amid the ongoing standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh between Indian and Chinese army which is the longest and most serious in the last three decades. Especially since June, India and the US had already intensified under the radar intelligence and military cooperation at an unprecedented level.

United States secretary of states Mr. Mike Pompeo called up Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. S Jaishankar in the third week of June. The National Security Advisor of India, Mr. Ajit Doval has been constantly in the touch with the United States National Security Advisor Mr. Robert C O’Brien. The chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark A Milley has been in constant touch with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat. The US Secretary of Defence Mr. Mark T Esper called up Indian Defence Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh in the second week of July.

These conversations between India and the United States of America has facilitated the information sharing between the security, military, and intelligence agencies of the two countries, which also includes the sharing of high-end satellite images, telephone intercepts, and data on Chinese troops and weapons deployment along the LAC.

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