India signs defence pact ‘BECA’ with US; Rajnath Singh describes it as ‘significant achievement’

India and the United States (US) on Tuesday signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

The agreement which was signed after discussions between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his visiting American counterpart Mark Esper will allow both countries to share sensitive information regarding satellite and sensor data.

In a joint statement after the signing, Rajnath described it as a ‘significant move’ and said, “During the meeting, we have had comprehensive discussions on key aspects of our bilateral and multilateral cooperation. In today’s meeting, we explored the probable capacity building and other joint cooperation activities in third countries, including our neighbourhood and beyond.”

“We continued our discussions on larger regional and global perspective today over the 2+2. Signing of BECA today after signing of LEMOA in 2016 and COMCASA in 2018 is a significant achievement in that direction. In our meeting, we shared assessment of the security situation across the Indo Pacific. In that process, we reaffirmed our commitment to peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in this region,” Rajnath said.

“We also agreed that upholding the rules-based international order, respecting the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the international seas and upholding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states are essential,” Rajnath added.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said, “Today’s U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial was a success. The bond between our nations is built on the foundation of a longstanding friendship, partnership, and vibrant democratic traditions. Thank you Dr S Jaishankar, Mark Esper, and Rajnath Singh for yet another successful dialogue.”

Pompeo also mentioned the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel in Galwan Valley after a clash with China and said his country stands with India to deal with any threat.