The defence and foreign ministers of India and the United States are expected to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
Through BECA, New Delhi will get access to a range of topographical, nautical and aeronautical data, considered important for targeting missiles and armed drones. Sources said it would the US to provide advanced navigational aids and avionics on US supplied aircraft to India. According to Reuters, American companies have sold India more than $21 billion of weapons since 2007. Washington has been urging the Indian government to sign agreements for the sharing of sensitive information and encrypted communications for better use of the high-end military equipment. As such, the two countries have also signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016. And since 2018, Washington and New Delhi have been sharing real-time intelligence under the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
After a meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his American counterpart Mark Esper on Monday, the Defence Ministry in a statement said the two ministers expressed satisfaction that BECA will be signed during the visit. This comes amid the India and China border tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). And the US has also been trying to put diplomatic pressure on Beijing, following its aggressiveness in the disputed South China Sea and the imposition of the new security law in Hong Kong. Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert, said India shall decisively evolve as a serious military power in the Indian Ocean Region for decades to come. He pointed out that the recent India-China standoff in Galwan Valley has revealed a new dimension of India in terms of an aggressive military stance.
S Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the stability and security issues in Asia, and the global situation, and contemporary challenges. The two leaders also noted the peace process in Afghanistan with Jaishankar highlighting India’s stakes and its concerns that decisions should be made by Afghan themselves without the use of force. He reiterated that cross-border terrorism was completely unacceptable.