India, US discuss another military pact


New Delhi, Aug. 3: The India-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) that met in the US yesterday has discussed the possibilities of the two countries inking the third and last of the “foundational agreements” to bind the two nations in a deeper strategic relationship.

The meeting today took stock of the progress made in various fields of defence cooperation in recent years, including in defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, and military-to-military engagement.

Defence Secretary of India Sanjay Mitra, and US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, John Rood, jointly chaired the DPG. The officials discussed the critical agreement Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which is one of the three foundational military agreements. India is already signatory to the other two.

BECA enables use of US-produced geospatial maps, which will sharpen the accuracy of missiles. The data from the geospatial library is fed into the missile seeker, allowing it to travel on its own with a great accuracy towards its target on ground. New Delhi is looking to get specialised ‘predator’ UAVs made by US company General Atomics. New Delhi is studying if it can get National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System for its mid-range air defence requirement. It can destroy unmanned aerial vehicle and emerging cruise missile threats. India had some concerns over sharing geospatial data that the US has agreed to address. India, in the past few years, has separately inked with the US two other military agreements called the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), and Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

The LEMOA allows India to use US facilities for re-fuelling — much needed as warships keep travelling eastwards. The US has a string of bases starting from Indonesia — located east of India and extending north-eastwards to Japan and also south-eastwards till Australia. The COMCASA facilitates US and Indian military platforms to ‘talk’ to each other, meaning they have common secure communication system allowing seamless transfer of data. 

The DPG is the apex official-level meeting mechanism between the Indian Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defence. It is tasked with reviewing and guiding all aspects of bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries. Agencies

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