India invites US investments in defence sector; set to sign crucial BECA pact

New Delhi (NVI): India on Monday invited US investments in the defence sector under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative while the two countries were set to sign BECA, a crucial agreement that will give New Delhi access to accurate geo-spatial data with several military applications.

BECA is Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation which will be signed tomorrow during the 2 + 2 India-US ministerial dialogue. The 2+2 ministerial dialogue involves Ministers of Foreign and Defence of the two sides.

Ahead of tomorrow’s Dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper met here today and reviewed bilateral defence cooperation spanning military-to-military cooperation, secure communication systems and information-sharing, defence trade and industrial issues.

The two ministers, who met under the shadow of Chinese aggression on the Ladakh border and the Communist country’s expansionist designs in South China Sea, also discussed ways to take bilateral cooperation forward.

“Both the ministers expressed satisfaction at the close engagements between the respective armed forces. They discussed potential new areas of cooperation, both at Service-to-Service level and at the joint level,” the Defence Ministry spokesman said.

The two sides called for continuation of existing defence dialogue mechanisms during the pandemic, at all levels, particularly the Military Cooperation Group (MCG). They also discussed requirements of expanding deployments of liaison officers, the spokesman said.

“The two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA will be signed during the visit,” the spokesman said.

The US Secretary of Defence also welcomed Australia’s participation in the Exercise MALABAR 2020 under the framework of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or QUAD, which  comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

Singh elaborated upon the initiatives under the Atmanirbhar Bharat to encourage investments in the defence industry in India and invited the US companies to avail of the liberalised policies and the favourable defence industry ecosystem in India.