The U.S. is keen that India sign the last foundational agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA), at the next India-U.S. 2+2 ministerial dialogue likely to held in October end, a defence source said on Thursday.
A meeting of the Quad Foreign Ministers is scheduled to take place in Tokyo in October, the source said. Earlier, the meeting was expected to be held in New Delhi.
“The U.S. wants BECA to be signed at the ministerial 2+2 in October. Indian draft with our suggestions has been sent to them,” the source said stating negotiations are far from over and it is unlikely to be signed by October. The timing of the 2+2 comes just before the U.S. elections in November and there is still no clarity on the dates.
A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the U.S., the source said. Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries — Australia, Japan and the U.S.
Beginning 2016, India has signed three foundational agreements: the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) while the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago. An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the last 2+2 dialogue.
There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.
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