The Indo-US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) was signed during the ‘2+2’ ministerial-level talks between the two countries, in New Delhi on Tuesday, 27 October, and this agreement is considered important for India, from a strategic point of view.
So, what is BECA and why is it crucial for India?
What Is BECA?
BECA stands for Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, which will give India and the US access to classified geo-spatial data and strategically important intelligence from each other. In simple terms, the agreement enables the exchange of sensitive and classified information.
What Classified Information Will Be Shared?
Under the BECA, the two countries can exchange maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data. The agreement will also allow the US to share sensitive satellite and sensor data.
How Will This Help Us?
Sharing of this intelligence would enable India’s strategic planning. To give examples, with this information, India can closely monitor Chinese naval movements in the Indian Ocean or the highly accurate US satellites will help India to accurately target military assets of the neighbouring countries like Pakistan.
Is This Agreement First of a Kind?
The BECA is the fourth and final foundational understanding that the US has with India. The two countries have already signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (2002), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (2016), and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (2018).
Is There Any Criticism?
The UPA government had initially blocked it, owing to fears raised by security forces on the protection of classified information and access to classified laboratories in India. However, the government said that these concerns have been addressed during the bilateral talks.
(With inputs from NDTV and The Economic Times)
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