India and the United States will hold the third 2+2 dialogue this month and will most likely sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which is linked to geospatial cooperation, HT reported on Monday.
Representatives of both countries will meet in New Delhi between October 26 and 27, the report added.
Earlier, the US expressed keenness in signing the pact at the earliest.
BECA is the fourth foundational agreement between the countries.
Since 2016, they have signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago, reports The Hindu.
The Industrial Security Annex (ISA), which is an extension of GSOMIA, was signed in the last 2+2 dialogue.
The signing of BECA assumes significance as it will let India use the US' global geospatial maps, which in turn will improve the accuracy of cruise and ballistic missiles.
The countries are already exchanging crucial military information as underlined in the three agreements.
An official told TOI in February that BECA could be signed next year, but looks like the schedule has been advanced.
Before the 2+2 dialogue, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will meet Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, in Tokyo on October 6.
Pompeo is set to attend the second meeting of "Quad" group countries, namely the US, Japan, Australia, and India.
In mid-October, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Beigun will arrive in India. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is also scheduled to visit.
India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will also participate in the 2+2 dialogue. The US ministers are also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval.
Both sides are likely to discuss Chinese aggression as well.
After the pact is sealed, India will be able to acquire high-end armed drones like MQ-9B. This unmanned aerial vehicle uses spatial data for pinpointed strikes.
Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will also be discussed by the ministers during the important dialogue.
Despite global criticism and a looming threat of being black-listed by terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan has taken little action against home-grown terror groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and LeT.
Another topic that will come up for discussion is the Afghan peace process, added HT.
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