Finally the United States & India signed their fourth foundational agreement, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) on geospatial cooperation in the 2+2 meeting today.
BECA will allow India & United States to share high-quality military grade satellite data with each other.
I met Dr Esper yesterday to discuss bilateral defence issues. We continued our discussions on larger regional and global perspective today over the 2+2. Signing of BECA today after signing of LEMOA in 2016 and COMCASA in 2018 is a significant achievement in that direction.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) October 27, 2020
Although BECA is a two-way data sharing agreement but India is the one who is in the advantageous position after this agreement.
It will allow to India to access topographical, nautical, aeronautical, advance satellite data and hydrographic surveys data which will be very useful for Indian Navy.
Data received under this agreement will be useful in long range navigation and will definitely enhance accuracy for Indian Armed Forces.
Also Read:- Why Quad is far from becoming ‘Asian NATO’ ?
The United States currently has the largest number of satellites in space and now after BECA, India will be able to effectively monitor Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean region or along the borders with China.
Is BECA good or bad ?
As we have already discussed that how BECA is going to help India in these tough times, but as the India & America alliance growing many intellectual is in fear that india is giving up its strategic autonomy.
Talking about strategic autonomy Strategic Thinker Dhruva Jaishankar says in an interaction with Firstpost that, “The Talmudic debates on strategic autonomy are, in a sense, an artefact of a bygone era,”
He wanted to say that, strategic autonomy means a country should be able to act as it wishes in its larger strategic interest.
In these times when China is threatening our territorial integrity, our sovereignty and knocking at our doorstep, India needs powerful alliance in bigger national interest.
Even Indra Gandhi reign India was aligned with Soviet Union and even she signed a Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation with Soviet Union in 1971.
She did what suits India in larger national interest and what government doing right now is also in the larger National Interest.
Foundational Agreements of United States
Traditionally the United States has four Foundational Agreement that it signs with their allies.
The first of the four agreements, the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed by India and the U.S. in 2002. This agreement enables the sharing of military intelligence between the two countries and requires each country to protect the others’ classified information.
The second agreement is Logistics Support Agreement (LSA). India signs the modified version of this agreement known as, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), was signed by the two countries on 29 August 2016.
Tge agreement will allow both countries to use each other military bases for logistics support, including humanitarian assistance, disaster management, food, water and petroleum.
The third agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed during the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in September 2018.
Again it is an India-specific variant of Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) that enables the two countries to share secure communication and exchange information on approved equipment.
The fourth and final agreement is Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), signed today in 2+2 meeting between India & USA.