BECA, MITSA Deals Between India-US Will Strengthen Strategic Alliance, Challenge China’s Growing Military Ambitions
File photo of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. (AFP)
Through BECA, India will have access to highly accurate military grade data from US satellites with real-time intelligence. The data obtained will help India on its northern western borders with Pakistan and China.
- Last Updated: October 27, 2020, 15:29 IST
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India is expected to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) and the Maritime Information Sharing Technical Agreement (MISTA) protocols on Tuesday during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi. These two landmark agreements will not only help both India and The US to meet the growing Chinese military might in a better way but will also help in establishing The Quad as a future deterrent power block. The Quad is a proposed alliance between The US, India, Japan and Australia.
Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA)
Both US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to conclude BECA as early as possible and it was indicated during Trump’s visit to India in February. They wanted the agreement soon to be finalised on the defence deal that has long been on table, for over a decade in India. India has its own satellite imaging capabilities and was initially not willing to join BECA but the recent confidence in relations between both countries and the geopolitical developments across the world, including China’s increasing belligerence, has finally convince the country.
The BECA is the last of the foundational defence troika that India and The US are expected to sign today. We can sense the urgency with which such strategic defence deals have been signed in just four years. The US designated India a major defence partner in 2016 and the same year it signed with India Logistics Exchange Memorandum (LEMOA). LEMOA allows use of each-other’s military bases for repair and replenishment. Warships and aircrafts of both countries now can get refuelling and berthing facility in each other’s bases.
In 2018, India and The US signed Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) which allows sharing of real-time intelligence data. The agreement allows India to get high tech avionics, electronic system and encrypted communication data from The US.
The BECA completes it with sharing of classified intelligence on geo-spatial satellite and sensor data. One of the most promising outcomes of the deal would be that the information shared will help India in long-range missile targeting and navigating.
Through BECA, India will have access to highly accurate military grade data from US satellites with real-time intelligence on, suppose a terrorist target, for navigating a missile or an armed drone to its location. The data obtained will help India on its northern western borders with Pakistan and China.
Through this bilateral agreement, both classified and unclassified data on geospatial information and satellite imagery, maps, topographical, nautical and aeronautical charts and geomagnetic and geophysical data will be shared between both countries which will further add to India’s military capability. Also, it will strengthen the cooperation between air-forces of India and America in near future.
Maritime Information Sharing Technical Agreement (MISTA)
The other important defence deal that India and the US are expected to sign is Maritime Information Sharing Technical Agreement (MISTA). The deal is being seen as a direct challenge to China’s naval ambitions.
China has been trying to make most lethal and largest navy in the world. That would ultimately threaten The US with strongest naval force in the world that patrols most of the oceans and India with its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean.
The MISTA will focus mainly on Indo-Pacific region and will contain China’s military expansion in seas and may be the first step to operationalise The Quad set-up in near future. The information shared through naval intelligence will help tracking down and locating the adversary ships and submarines including the Chinese ones.