“India and the US have Overcome the Hesitations of History”PM Narendra modi
India and the USA signed the BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) and few other documents during the recent 2+2 meeting.
BECA allows the militaries of two countries to share geospatial data. India will get access to topographical images and precision data from US military satellites on a real time basis. The two countries have already signed the
1) General Security of Military Information Agreement in 2002,
2) Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 and
3) Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018.
BECA is the fourth and final agreement the US has to offer.
With India gaining real time access to high resolution satellite imagery with BECA, it will enhance India’s capacity for surveillance in border areas and the Indian ocean. India can keep close watch on movement of Pak militants and Chinese troops, Chinese military ships and submarines. The data made available will increase the accuracy of Indian strikes and allow us to verify the success of strikes with post attack images. It will enhance India’s capacity in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The broader Indo US Relations
Issues of Cooperation
India USA defence ties are growing. While India maintains good defence ties with Russia, gradually there is a shift to the USA for its military dependence. As mentioned before, India has signed all 4 military cooperation agreements with USA. In 2018, India became the third Asian country (after Japan and S Korea) to be given STA-1 status by the USA. It allows export of high technology products particularly in the civil space and defence sector to India.
There is a common perception of China as a peace disruptor. Both countries are wary of China’s increasing might and have shown willingness to come together to counter it. Both countries are party to QUAD, and conduct regular military exercises.
There is a strong nuclear cooperation between the countries. Indo US Civil Nuclear Deal 2008, has allowed access to India to nuclear technology without being an NSG member. India is the only country which is not party to NPT but can carry civil nuclear trade with the rest of the world. There is also an agreement signed in 2019 under which the USA will construct six nuclear reactors in India.
India and the US are closely linked by the Indian diaspora. Almost 2.5 million Indians live in the USA. There is a stronger P2P connection between the countries.
Issues of Contestation
US’ relations with Pakistan had been a big concern for India. USA’s vested interests in Afghanistan compel it to cultivate Pakistan. And Indo Pakistan relations are far from cooperation.
The USA – Iran tussle has also created a difficult situation for India at times. While the USA plans to contain Iran’s nuclear program, good relations with Iran are essential for India to meets its energy demands and connect with Central Asia.
India and the USA are coming from different pasts. While India is overcoming its history of non-alignment, the USA has to get used to living in a multipolar world. There will be issues of cooperation and differences. But by working together, we can shape the world.