India, US defence ties – What are LSA, CISMOA and BECA agreements?

Scope of discussion

  • What do we mean by LSA, CISMOA & BECA – Back2basics terms
  • Why the US wants India to sign them? Mains & Interview
  • Why was India averse to signing these pacts? Mains
  • What is Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)? Prelims & Mains


What are LSA, CISMOA and BECA agreements?

Welcome to the world of 3 foundational agreements that the US has been insisting on India to sign to further enhance the bilateral defence and strategic relationship.

#1. The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA)

  • LSA would set a framework for the two countries to share military logistics
  • To assist each other’s armed forces with simple military logistics. For the U.S. Navy, for example, logistics support from India would be a valuable asset, helping it better project power in the Indian Ocean.
  • If you have been a regular with newspapers or CD’s daily news, you would realise that we gave an in-principle nod to LSA. Read the daily updates here.

LSA would allow each other to access their military bases without any conflict for e.g in 1991 Gulf war India denied the US from refueling its aircraft from Indian territory.

#2. The Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)

  • CISMOA would allow the United States to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems
  • Thus allowing secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides
  • CISMOA would extend this capability to Indian and U.S. military assets, including aircraft and ships

#3. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)

  • BECA would set a framework through which the United States could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India


Why the US wants India to sign them?

  • The agreements clearly puts emphasis on building interoperability and capacity of the emerging partners through joint military exercises, training, and defence equipment sales
  • US increasingly expects India to play the larger role of a “net security provider”
  • It believes that these foundational agreements will facilitate a strong defence and strategic partnership between the two countries

During the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, India was less inclined towards signing these agreements BUT the India-US defence and strategic relationship has dramatically improved since the Narendra Modi Government came to power in May 2014.

Really? How so?

  1. India & USA agreed to transform from mere buyer-seller defence relationship to joint research, co-development and production of high end defence equipments
  2. Signed a “Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region”. Again, this would be a good time to revisit our updated maritime strategy where we increased our ambit of surveillance because we want to be a“net security provider” in Indo-pacific. Click to read here.


If that is the case, why was India averse to signing these agreements before?

  1. India was concerned that it might erode its military independence
  2. Botch up its historically close security relationship with Russia, jeopardizing ongoing projects
  3. May antagonize China, leaving India in a disadvantageous position vis-a-vis its border disputes with Beijing. China’s visualization of US activity with any South Asian nation as its ‘Asia Pivot’ Strategy!
  4. In the case of CISMOA, it might allow the United States undue insight into Indian operational practices


  1. These look like valid reasons for not signing the agreements. And anyway, we were going on with our weapons procurement business with US with/ without these. What changed then? Why has India given an in-principle nod to signing the LSA?


The India-US statement came on a day when China expressed anger at the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies opposing “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions” in the East and South China Seas.


Know more about Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)

  1. Indo-Us defence pact, unveiled in 2012 – 4 major area of focus – Cooperation in (research, co-production , S&T and Military sales).
  2. It is mere framework not a treaty or law & disagreements have led to no progress since 2012!
  3. US prioritization of trade issues & India’s focus on technology transfers = Deadlock!
  4. Challenges and concerns = Terrorism from AF-PAK region, China’s assertiveness over South China sea.

Want to read more?

The debate on the value of these agreements for India is worth a read. Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Bharat Karnad lean against these agreements; Dhruva Jaishankar offers a case in favor.


Source: Ref1 | Ref2 | Ref3
User Avatar

By Explains

Explain the News

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch