Basic Exchange and Cooperation agreement signed on Tuesday between India and US rounds off the four foundation documents needed to take defence relations forward. Explained in 10 points
1. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) will give India expertise on geospatial intelligence, which simply put means it will help give more accuracy to forces when using weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.
2. It will make mission planning easier for the Indian forces, as they will be provided with geographical co-ordinates and feeds in real-time data. Chances of missing a target are reduced considerably.
3. As India is buying drones from the US, the real-time data fed into the system could be used for devastating attacks on enemy targets.
4. India and US have already signed an intelligence-sharing pact, called the General Security of Military Information Agreement in 2002. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) 2018 and BECA 2020.
5. Taken together, these will enhance Indian capabilities and help make India a formidable force in the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese have for several years been sending ships and submarines. India can now keep a close watch on the movement of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean, meaning keep an eye on the PLA Navy across the Indian Ocean Region. (IOR)
6. All the four defence agreements signed with the US were done during BJP rule. The first in 2002, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minsiter. The three others under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
7. Former Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while signing the landmark civil-nuclear deal with the US, was wary of defence cooperation.
8. UPA defence minister A.K.Antony constantly stonewalled all efforts to sign any of the foundation agreements with the US military.
9. The India-US military cooperation is now a reality and could push Russia off India’s radar. Indian and Russian equipment would soon lose compatibility as Indian systems would in the next few years acquire more and more US equipment.
10. India foreign and security policy has taken a new pro-US turn.