India-US sign BECA Geospatial data sharing agreement


India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue: India and the United States Tuesday signed a geospatial cooperation agreement during US defence secretary Mark T Esper’s India visit, who is in New Delhi to participate in 2+2 ministerial dialogue involving foreign and defence ministers of both the countries. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) enables both the countries to share satellite data with each other, which will be particularly useful for India in any future military conflict.

The agreement will enable sharing of advanced US satellite and topographical data with India.

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India-US defence partnership

The defence ministry said both the leaders also reviewed bilateral defence cooperation spanning military-to-military cooperation, secure communication systems and information sharing, defence trade and industrial issues.

“They discussed potential new areas of cooperation, both at Service to Service level and at the joint level. They called for continuation of existing defence dialogue mechanisms during the pandemic, at all levels, particularly the Military Cooperation Group (MCG),” the ministry said.

Officials said both the leaders also discussed the need to expand the deployment of military liaison officers.

S Jaishankar Mike Pompeo.

S Jaishankar (R) with Mike Pompeo.

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Malabar Naval Exercise 2020

After a gap of 13 years, India invited Australia to participate in Malabar Naval exercise.

The exercise traditionally involves participation of navies from three countries, India, US and Japan, however, Australia’s inclusion in the Malabar 2020 exercise signals that the Quad of these four democracies is taking a more formal shape to ensure the freedom of navigation and peaceful use of resources in the Indo-Pacific region.

During his meeting with Rajnath Singh, US defence secretary Esper welcomed Australia’s participation in the Malabar 2020 exercise.

Mark T Esper at South Block.

Mark T Esper at South Block.

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Self-reliant India

Defence minister Rajnath Singh also discussed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) with his American counterpart Esper.

Singh discussed the several initiatives taken by the government under the scheme to encourage investments in the defence industry in India.

“Defence minister invited US companies to make avail of the liberalized policies and the favorable Defence Industry ecosystem in India,” said the statement.

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