Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 27
India and the US today signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), a military pact reserved for close Pentagon allies, and resolved to jointly undertake development and infrastructure projects abroad to counter Chinese aggression in security and economic domains.
BECA allows access to US generated satellite imagery that is used in precision strikes by armed drones and long-range missiles. The geospatial mapping of the land mass will be available to India in real time. The contours of the landmass need to be known accurately to launch precision strikes at long distances.
In a joint statement at the end of the third Indo-US 2+2 summit, the four ministers—Rajnath Singh, S Jaishankar, Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper—welcomed the signing of BECA and the move to enhance maritime information sharing and domain awareness.
Later, the two visiting US ministers called on PM Narendra Modi. They also met NSA Ajit Doval.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in their several public statements on Tuesday indicated that the purpose of the Indo-US 2+2 went beyond the China threat.
It is in the interest of major countries like India and the US to give security a greater salience in their foreign policy, Jaishankar said.
Pompeo began by assailing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which, he said, was “no friend to democracy, rule of law, transparency and a prosperous India Pacific”.
Dwelling on his trip in the morning to the martyr’s memorial, he pointedly noted that he paid respects to all those who had laid their lives including “the 20 who died in the Galwan Valley” to defend the world’s largest democracy.
During talks, the two sides discussed a wide array of issues, including deeper partnership in health, space, nuclear energy, supply chains, trade and energy fields, besides people-to-people ties.
The meeting took place a week before the US poll and a month before India and the US would be joined by Japan and Australia for a combined show of naval strength under the Malabar series of war games.
Welcoming Quad cooperation, the four ministers resolved to impart economic content through a dialogue among the development organisations of the four countries.
The ministers emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks and called on Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators and planners of all attacks, including Mumbai, Uri and Pathankot.
The joint statement devoted considerable space to the fine print of defence cooperation as well as formulations on the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific. The two countries also resolved to jointly build deterrence capacity of regional countries.
2+2 summit takeaways
Military: BECA allows India access to geospatial data needed to fire long-range missiles and fly armed drones
Energy: MoU’s term extended for cooperation with India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership
Health: Discussing an MoU between ICMR and US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to collaborate on infectious diseases, including Covid
Narcotics: An India-US counter-narcotics working group to be set up, first virtual meeting later this year
Earth sciences: MoU signed for technical cooperation in earth observation and earth sciences