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Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA)

Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA)

Context:

The USA is looking forward to India signing the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), at the next India-USA 2+2 ministerial dialogue likely to be held in October 2020.

Details:

  • A meeting of the Quad Foreign Ministers is scheduled to take place in Tokyo in October 2020. Earlier, the meeting was expected to be held in New Delhi.
  • The U.S. wants BECA to be signed at the ministerial 2+2 in October.
  • A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the U.S. Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries naming Australia, Japan, and the U.S.

BECA:

  • It will allow India to use the geospatial maps of the USA to get pinpoint military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles.
  • BECA is an important precursor to India acquiring armed unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Predator-B from the USA. Predator-B uses spatial data for accurate strikes on enemy targets.
  • In 2016, India has signed three foundational agreements with the USA.
  • BECA is one of the four foundational military communication agreements between the two countries. 
    • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA),
    • The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
    • The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)

2+2 talks:

  • These talks are between two appointed ministers from each country. Defense and foreign ministers or secretaries meet with their counterparts from another country. 
  • Objective: To discuss issues of strategic and security interests between the two countries.
  • The talks were announced in June 2017. The 2+2 dialogue has replaced the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries that were held previously.
  • India holds ministerial-level talks only with the USA. Apart from India, the United States holds such talks with Australia and Japan also.

Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (COMCASA):

  • It was signed by India in 2018.
  • It is valid for 10 years only.
  • Objective: To provide a legal framework for the transfer of highly sensitive communication security equipment from the USA to India that will streamline and facilitate interoperability between their armed forces.

General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA):

  • In 2002 it was signed by India.
  • The agreement allows militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them.
  • An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the 2+2 dialogue in 2019.
  • ISA provides a framework for the protection as well as the exchange of classified military information between the USA and India.

Source: The Hindu