BECA to MISTA: How India, US are enhancing maritime intel sharing on the high seas
New Delhi, Dec 07: Thanks a recently concluded pact, India and the United States are gearing up to actively share maritime military intelligence.
Called the Maritime Information Sharing Technical Arrangement (MISTA), the bilateral pact lays down protocols for the exchange of intelligence in real time. This would significantly enhance the level of cooperation.
New Delhi has also inked white shipping agreements with 21 countries to enhance situational awareness in the Indian Ocean Region. The pacts have been operationalised with the US, UK, France, Australia, Brazil, Vietnam, Oman, Israel and Mauritius and would involve dynamic exchange of information on merchant ships on the high seas.
India is in particular concerned about the Chinese naval expansions. In this backdrop a maritime domain awareness through a collaborative effort is key to detect, deter and defeat conventional and unconventional threats in the IOR.
A source tells OneIndia that the pact with the US goes beyond the white shopping acts and is crucial as the two-way connectivity would make the flow of intelligence smoother for the two navies.
This comes in the backdrop of India and US signing the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). This enabled exchange of geospatial information between the two countries. It would also enhance operational efficiency of the defence platforms of the United States that are being operated in India.
The BECA would also pave the way for sharing of maps, charts, imagery and other geospatial information and data. This would include geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data.
The first pact that India had signed with the US was the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The pact signed in 2016 made it obligatory for both India and the US to support each other's aircraft, ships, personnel with logistics, spares and fuel.
The BECA was the last of the four foundational pacts. Washington had promised India that these would make it easier for India access advanced military technologies from the US. This had in fact paved the way for better defence partnerships between the two nations.
India and the US had also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement in 2018.
This facilitated India's access to advanced defence systems of the US. Due to this India was allowed optimally to use existing military hardware sourced from the US.
The Industrial Security Annexe was signed in 2019 to be added to the existing General Security of Military Information Agreement. The ISA provided a framework for exchange and protection of classified military information between India and the US.