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The many defence agreements that are helping India become a military powerhouse

War is a terrible malaise afflicting humanity, but no country can afford to be underprepared for it. A few defence agreements signed by India has significantly strengthened our position in a potential conflict with China or Pakistan.

We take a closer look at these agreements.

LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement) – 2016

Talks were on for this agreement between the USA and India from 2010 – when Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. At that time, it didn’t work out because USA was favouring Pakistan. After Osama Bin Laden was captured there in 2011, USA changed their alliance and became friendly with India.

With LEMOA, we can use any of USA’s naval bases for our purpose. We can refuel, load up on weapons, get food and make repairs over there. It doesn’t need a political intervention either, the chief of Navy of both nations can talk and execute it. Even USA can use any of our naval bases easily.

This is beneficial for India. If a ship faces some problem near China, we don’t have to come all the way to India. We can just go to a US naval base in Japan and fix our problem.

The agreement also allows our air force to use any of USA’s several air bases.

COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) – 2018

Another vital agreement, COMCASA allows our defence forces to encrypt their communication. This is crucial as we don’t want our plans to be leaked. Fighting a war without a secure communication system would prove fatal for our forces. We have an aeroplane called C-17 which has a capacity to hold 70 tonnes of cargo. If our enemies could decode the communication on the aeroplane, it could put everything in danger.

Some people have criticized this agreement citing the fact that USA could listen to our communication. It’s a hollow argument considering our main threats at the moment are China and Pakistan. If we can use USA’s intelligence to keep a track on these countries, it’s good for us. In July 2020, an aircraft called U-2 entered China and surveyed critical spots. Because of COMCASA, we are privy to the data gained by U-2. The agreement also helps us tackle China’s submarine threat.

Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement for Geo-spatial Co-ordination (BECA) – 2020

Signed in a 2+2 meeting (two ministers from India met two ministers from USA) held in October 2020, BECA allows India access to vital data like maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, imagery, etc. US has some extremely accurate navigation satellites and India can now access this network. It’ll help us strike a target from thousands of kilometers away with great precision.

There are a lot of places in the world which our satellites cannot survey. USA’s 150 military satellites (China and India aren’t even close) can keep a track of everything. This agreement is a huge victory for the government considering it prepares us for the worst.

Industrial Security Annexure (ISA)

India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke about the agreement during a press conference. “We hope that this [ISA] will enable smooth transfer of classified technology and information between private entities of the U.S. and India,” he said.

This agreement will give us access to USA’s advanced drones that can solve issues like terrorist infiltration or Naxalite violence. Till now, our army had to solve these issues and we often lost soldiers. With an efficient drone, we can avoid any casualties.

Together, these four agreements are a great boon for the country and we must welcome this partnership with USA.


1. What is LEMOA? (The Hindu)

2. What is COMCASA? (The Hindu)

3. Explained: BECA, and the importance of 3 foundational pacts of India-US defence cooperation (The Indian Express)

4. Industrial Security Annex opens Indian private partnerships for U.S. defence firms (The Hindu)

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