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US-India ink key defence pact, BECA

On Tuesday, India and the US inked the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the 2+2 India-US ministerial dialogue. By virtue of this crucial military pact, India will be able to gain access to precision data and topographical images – on a real time basis – from United States military satellites. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar by their side, the visiting US ministers, Pompei and defence secretary Mark T Esper made the announcement of this deal.

Now the two nations  can exchange strategic information like maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data. India will be able to monitor the movements of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean; while  if there is ever another air strike by Pakistan, India can access satellite and other data from the US to verify the success of its hits. BECA is the fourth and final “foundational” understanding the US has with India; the others being General Security of Military Information Agreement (2002), Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (2016), Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (2018).

“As you have heard from my colleagues, the Indo-Pacific region was a particular focus of our talks. We reiterated the importance of peace, stability and prosperity for all countries in this region. As Raksha Mantri stated, this is possible only by upholding the rules-based international order, ensuring the freedom of navigation in the international seas, promoting open connectivity and respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states. A multi-polar world must have a multi-polar Asia as its basis,” Jaishankar commented.

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