Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement
The U.S. is keen that India sign the last foundational agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA), at the next India-U.S. 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
- A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the US. Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries — Australia, Japan and the U.S.
- Beginning 2016, India has signed three foundational agreements: the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) while the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago. An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the last 2+2 dialogue.
- There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.
- It was signed in 2002 between India and USA.
- GSOMIA paved the way for greater technology cooperation in the military sector.
- It allows the sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Government of India and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) but not with Indian private companies.
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is a logistics support agreement signed in 2016.
- It gives both the nations access to each other’s military facilities. But it does not make it automatic or obligatory.
- It is a tweaked India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) which the U.S. has with several countries it has close military to military cooperation.
- The agreement will primarily cover four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. Any other requirement has to be agreed upon by both sides on a case-by-case basis.
- COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). It comes into force immediately and is valid for a period 10 years.
- It would facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms.
- COMCASA allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is.
- About Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement –
- BECA will allow India to use US expertise on geospatial intelligence and to enhance military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.
- It would set a framework through which the US could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India.