India to get access to US satellite data under new military pact
28 October 2020
India and the United States are set to sign a Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), under which India will get real-time access to US satellite data, a development that would significantly increase the strike capability of India’s armed forces.
India is set to sign a military agreement with the United States for sharing of sensitive satellite data, the defence ministry said on Monday, as New Delhi tries to narrow the gap with the powerful Chinese military.
The landmark agreement will allow India access to topographical, nautical and aeronautical data for better accuracy of weapons like missiles and drones.
The Indian government's decision for close cooperation with the Trump administration comes at a time when India is locked in a serious military standoff with China along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Access to US satellite data would help India better use advanced navigational aids and avionics on US-supplied aircraft to India, defence sources said.
US companies have sold India more than $21 billion of weapons since 2007 and Washington has been urging the Indian government to sign agreements allowing for sharing of sensitive information and encrypted communications for better use of the high-end military equipment.
"The two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) will be signed during the visit," the defence ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh and his US counterpart Mark Esper held talks on various defence and security issues ahead of 2+2 dialogue between both the countries scheduled on Tuesday.