India, US to share high-end tech

Rajnath, Austin discuss geospatial mapping, logistics, communication

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 20

India and the US on Saturday discussed the contours of sharing high-end technology and “operationalising” the three existing agreements that cover everything from geospatial mapping to logistics and secure military-to-military communication.

In a statement after a meeting with his US counterpart General Lloyd Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “We discussed wide-ranging defence cooperation and expanding military-to-military engagement, information sharing, cooperation in emerging sectors of defence and mutual logistics support.”

Working on key pacts

  1. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), first foundational Indo-US pact, meant for sharing of logistics
  2. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) allows India to piggyback on US geospatial information to hit enemy targets with accuracy
  3. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) deals with secure military communication

General Austin arrived here on Friday on a three-day visit as part of his three-nation first overseas tour. He visited Japan and South Korea before India. The two sides reviewed the gamut of bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed to pursue enhanced cooperation with the US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command and Africa Command. “We have in place three foundational agreements — LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA. We have discussed steps to realise their full potential,” Rajnath said.

While LEMOA allows sharing of logistics, BECA geospatial mapping and COMCASA allows real-time information sharing between US-made military platforms of the two countries. General Austin said elevating the US-India defence partnership was a priority of the Biden administration. He described the relationship between the two countries as a “stronghold” of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

He said: “I reaffirmed our commitment to a comprehensive and forward-looking defence partnership as a central pillar of our approach to the region.” “The two-sides are continuing to advance new areas of collaboration. This includes information-sharing, logistics cooperation, AI and cooperation in new domains such as space and cyber,” General Austin said.

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