The agreement will enable both sides to exchange information including geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data

India and the United States are likely to sign an agreement on sharing of geospatial intelligence between their armed forces during the third India-US 2+2 dialogue next month, the last such meeting between the two nations before the US presidential elections scheduled in November.

Deccan Herald has reported that the long pending Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) is one of the items to be discussed during the meeting between External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and their American Counterparts Mike Pompeo and Mark T Esper.

According to the report, the agreement will enable both sides to exchange information related to geographic data such as sharing of maps, charts, imagery, geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data. This will enhance efficiency in terms of US platforms currently operating in India, the report said.

The agreement is likely to be signed between the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency of the US State Department and the Ministry of Defence, the Government of India.

India has already signed three ‘foundational pacts’ with the US and BECA is going to be the last one of the agreements to be signed. As per the Deccan Herald report, the agreement will be a result of the persistent pushing by the US urging India to sign the agreement saying that it will help India to access advanced military technologies from the US. The US has also promised India that it will strengthen defence partnerships between the two nations.

The first three deals were the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and the Industrial Security Annex (ISA). While LEMOA was signed between the two countries in 2016 to support each other's aircraft, ships and personnel with logistics, fuel and spares, COMCASA was signed in September 2018 on the sidelines of the first 2+2 dialogue between the two countries.

Similarly, ISA was signed during the second 2+2 dialogue in December 2019 and enabled the countries to exchange military information, the report said.

The upcoming 2+2 dialogue will also discuss China’s growing aggression in the Indio-Pacific region especially at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India, South China Sea, East China Sea, Taiwan Strait and the other parts.

Read the full report in Deccan Herald