Hyderabad, October 27: India and the US signed the historic Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), the last of four so-called foundational agreements for sharing sensitive information and sales of advanced military hardware, during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Tuesday.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Our economies have suffered losses. We're trying to revive industries and services sectors. Our partnership becomes more important in view of the current challenges we're facing. We both believe in rule-based order and democracy."

He further added, "We are happy that we've completed BECA, which will open new avenues in the information sharing. We are eager to discuss further issues with US." India-US 2+2 Dialogue: 'China Elephant in The Room?' Here's What to Expect From The High-Level Ministerial Meeting.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the agreement is a great opportunity for two great democracies to grow closer. "We've got a lot to discuss today-to cooperate amid pandemic, to confront the Chinese Communist party's threats to security and freedom, to promote peace and stability in the region," he added.

Here's what Pompeo said:

What is BECA?

BECA is considered the last of the foundational agreements to be signed by India and the US.  Under BECA, the two countries can exchange maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data. Other than this, the agreement includes sharing of classified information as well, with safeguards in place to ensure that it is not shared with any third party.

The two sides have been sharing real-time intelligence under the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which was signed in 2018. The two countries signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016.

The BECA agreement will enhance the geospatial cooperation between them and it is likely to help in improving the accuracy of missile systems of India. According to reports, it will be a win-win situation for India as the country gets access to military-grade data that can help draw up target coordinates.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 27, 2020 11:16 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).