India says to sign military agreement with U.S. on sharing of satellite data

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India and the United States will sign a military agreement on sharing of satellite data during the current visit by U. S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Indian defence ministry said on Monday, deepening strategic ties.

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation (BECA) will allow India access to topographical, nautical and aeronautical data for better accuracy of weapons like missiles and drones.

Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in New Delhi for a top-level security dialogue on Tuesday, seen as part of efforts to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

“The two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA will be signed during the visit,” the Indian defence ministry said following Esper’s talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Catherine Evans