The big headline from the recently-concluded round of the 2+2 dialogue is that India and the United States have signed the basic exchange and cooperation agreement. BECA involves the sharing of navigation maps for both the air and the sea, including confidential military data, between the two countries. Crucially, it will give India access to high-quality data from U.S. precision military satellites. What does this mean for India’s defence sector?
It would also useful to zoom out a bit and look at these talks and the agreement in a larger geopolitical context. The continuing standoff with China is an obvious factor that underpins the entire dialogue and the U.S. has made no secret of the fact that they are looking to build a counter to China’s growing influence in the region. There are ongoing discussions and developments in the quad alliance between Australia, India, Japan and the U.S., and amidst all that it’s worth wondering whether the signing of the BECA treaty now embeds India, which has so far avoided being seen as part of any coalition in this regard, more firmly in the U.S. camp.
Guests: Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu; Dinakar Peri, Defence Correspondent, The Hindu.
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