Connect with us

News

India, US likely to sign pact on geospatial cooperation

Published

on

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN
Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, October 20:

India is now getting set to ink the fourth and final `foundational military pact’ called the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) with the United States to further tighten the strategic clinch between the two countries.

BECA will enable the US to share advanced satellite and topographical data for long-range navigation and missile-targeting with India. Officials said here on Monday that it is “very likely” to be inked during the “two-plus-two” dialogue here next week.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will hold the dialogue with their US counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo on October 26-27.

India inked the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with the US in 2002. It was followed by the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016, and then the Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) in 2018.

Despite constant prodding from the US, the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had not agreed to ink LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA during its 10-year tenure on the ground that it would compromise India’s “strategic autonomy”.

But the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed ahead with them, stressing that there are “enough India-specific safeguards” built into these pacts.

LEMOA provides for reciprocal logistics support like refuelling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircraft, while the COMCASA has paved the way for India to get greater access to advanced military technologies with encrypted and secure communications and data links like armed Predator-B or Sea Guardian drones.

“With BECA, the two countries can work towards enhancing their geospatial cooperation,” said an official. The pact will enable India to eventually use its ballistic and cruise missiles, drones and other weapons, with much better accuracy. There are, however, some concerns about Indian inking BECA when it has its own considerable satellite imaging capabilities.

The decision to expedite BECA was taken during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February. The visit had also seen the inking of two deals worth $3 billion for 24 MH-60 `Romeo’ naval helicopters and six Apache attack choppers. They have taken the total value of lucrative Indian defence deals bagged by the US to over $21 billion just since 2007.

 

 



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

Published

on

Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

Continue Reading

News

GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

Continue Reading

News

SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

Published

on

By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

Continue Reading

Trending