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Talks on third foundational military pact with U.S. soon

NewsTalks on third foundational military pact with U.S. soon

A country needs to sign three pacts to get cutting-edge weapons from the US.


New Delhi: The issue of the pending third foundational military pact—Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)—with the United States, which is expected to give a boost to the country’s defence system and counter the Russia-China-Pakistan axis, may come up for discussion during the “US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” later this year.

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held virtual talks recently during which the two sides discussed bilateral cooperation on a full range of international issues and reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a “free, open, peaceful and prosperous” Indo-Pacific.

The two officers also discussed the ongoing threats to the rules-based international order, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic cooperation, maritime security, and the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement by the US State Department.

India has already signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). However, it is yet to sign the third—Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA). A country needs to sign these three pacts to obtain cutting-edge weapons and communications systems from the US. BECA, according to experts, will allow India to use US expertise on geospatial intelligence and enhance military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.

The COMCASA allows the US to transfer communication equipment to India which facilitates secure transmission of data and real-time information between the armed forces of the two countries. The LEMOA, on the other hand, allows Indian and US defence forces to use each other’s facilities and establish procedures of easier access to supplies and services required by them.

Soon after the visit of US President Donald Trump to India, a meeting was held in Washington DC in March in which it was decided to start drafting the BECA. However, there was no substantial progress due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the issue may be discussed at the highest level during the “US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” later this year.

The previous 2+2 Dialogue (the second one) was held in Washington DC in December last year. Though BECA could not be signed, the two countries signed the Industrial Security Annex, which will facilitate collaboration between defence industries of the two countries by supporting the secure transfer of key information and technology. The 2+2 Dialogue was created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump as the first, in India’s case, with any country, to provide a positive and forward-looking vision for our strategic partnership.

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