Rajnath Singh. (File Pic)  |  Photo Credit: IANS
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has cleared the defence ministry’s proposal to sign the BECA or Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement with the United States of America.
The decision, taken on Wednesday, paves the way for the signing of the agreement during the 2+2 dialogue with the United States in Delhi on October 26-27.
The signing of the agreement will enable the two countries to share geospatial information. There have been discussions between officials of both countries over the last few weeks to push through the agreement. Exchange of geospatial information will have important military uses, particularly those involving missile technologies.
BECA isn’t the only agreement the two countries will be signing on October 26-27. The decision to sign the MISTA or the Marine Information Sharing Technical Arrangement has also been made. BECA is the third of the foundational agreements that strengthen the strategic links between the armed forces of both countries. The other two—the LEMOA or the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and the COMCASA or the Communications Compatibly and Security Agreement— have already been signed.
Interestingly, the 2+2 meeting is just before the US presidential elections on November 3.
That both the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, will be flying down at this time, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak, to meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, is a sign of the strong ties between the Indian government and the Trump administration. Keeping that in mind, it was felt that just a virtual meeting would not be enough.