In a 2+2 Ministerial dialogue between India and U.S., the countries signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) that generally U.S. signs with its close allies and partners.
Recent India-U.S. ties
Indo-U.S. defence ties have been upswing in the last few years. US have designated India a “Major Defence Partner” that intends to increase defence trade and technology with India comparable to a level with that of its closest allies and partners. India and U.S. in 2016 signed a MOU on Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). These countries signed another pact known as Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
The agreement allows access to each other’s military facilities. It allows their militaries to use each other’s base for the repair and replenishment of supplies.
Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
It provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for the sale of high end technology to India.
What is BECA?
The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) is one of the three basic agreements that U.S. signs with its close allies that enables the interoperability of forces and exchange of the sensitive and classified information (military applications). BECA is aimed at sharing geo-spatial information including the nautical as well as aeronautical charts. The data supported by highly accurate U.S. satellites would help in navigation and targeting military services. The data that can be shared include maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geomagnetic, geodetic and geophysical as well as gravity data. Most of the information to be shared will be in the unclassified category but it also has the provision to share classified information as well. This classified information will be shared with the safeguard in place to ensure that this sensitive and classified information is not shared with any third party.
Why it is not signed yet?
It was opposed over the concerns raised by security forces on protection of classified information and access to classified laboratories in India.
Benefits to India
India would be able to access the military grade data that can help to get the target coordinates with high accuracy. The data received under BECA will be useful for long-range navigation and missile-targeting with high accuracy. This agreement can help India to receive the data relevant on both the northern and western borders of India. BECA is a bilateral agreement hence India will also be expected to share the similar data with US.