(TibetanReview.net, Oct27’20) – Faced with looming threats from China across occupied Tibet’s borders, India has on Oct 27 inked a landmark defence agreement with the US that will allow sharing of high-end military technology, classified satellite data and critical information between the two countries. With it, the two countries reaffirmed their defensive and security relationship, as Washington continued to rally allies in Asia amid concerns over increased Chinese military activity in the region, noted the edition.cnn.com Oct 27.
The signing of the long-negotiated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the third edition of the 2+2 dialogue between the two strategic partners also signalled further boosting of bilateral defence and military ties and it came in the backdrop of India’s tense border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, reported India’s PTI news agency.
The signing of the agreement took place at a meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with the visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper.
Top military and security officials from the two countries took part in the discussions, the report said.
The report said that during the 2+2 dialogue, the two sides deliberated on a host of critical issues, including ways to further expand the already close relationship between the militaries of the two countries as well as broader issues of mutual interest in the Indo-Pacific region.
The report noted that the inking of the BECA completed the finalisation of four key pacts between the two countries which were identified as crucial to significantly expand their strategic ties.
BECA gives India access to classified geo-spatial data as well as critical information having significant military applications from the US.
The first key pact, the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed in 2002. It provides for specific measures to ensure security standards for safeguarding critical information shared by the US with India.
Then in 2016, the US designated India a “Major Defence Partner” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
Also in 2016, the two countries inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which allowed their militaries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies as well as provided for deeper cooperation.
The two countries signed another pact, called COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), in 2018, providing for interoperability between the two militaries and the sale of high-end technology from the US to India.