News: India and the U.S. will sign the last foundational agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
India and the US have already signed three key foundational agreements — General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018.
It is the final of the three basic agreements that the US signs with close partners, enabling interoperability of forces and exchange of sensitive and classified information.
While the other two relate to sharing military logistics and enabling secure communications, BECA is aimed at sharing geospatial information, including nautical and aeronautical charts.
The complete data, supplemented by highly accurate US satellites, aids in navigation as well as targeting military assets.
Items that can be exchanged include maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data.
This could be in digital or printed format. While most of the information to be shared will be in the unclassified category to bring about standardisation, BECA includes the provision of sharing classified information as well, with safeguards in place to ensure that it is not shared with any third party.
2. INDIAN NATIONAL CENTRE FOR OCEAN INFORMATION SERVICES
News: India is much safer against the threat of tsunamis than it was in 2004, thanks to the state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system established in Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) here. However, the best of warning systems could fail, if communities are not prepared, if they do not understand the official and natural warning signs of a tsunami, and if they do not take appropriate and timely response, warns Tummala Srinivasa Kumar, the new INCOIS Director.
About Tsunami Early Warning System:
The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System is set up to provide warning to inhabitants of nations bordering the Indian Ocean of approaching tsunamis.
The tsunami warning system has been in use since the mid-2000s.
The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System was agreed to in a United Nations conference held in January 2005 in Kobe, Japan as an initial step towards an International Early Warning Programme.
At present, the tsunami warning centre receives data from 17 seismic stations of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), 10 stations of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) and more than 300 international stations. In addition, it receives data from 17 sea-level tide gauges at intervals of five minutes.
From absolutely no warning capability or for that matter any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, we have reached a stage where we can detect large under sea earthquakes in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10-20 minutes after the earthquake occurrence.
About Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services:
Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, located in Pragathi Nagar, Hyderabad.
ESSO-INCOIS was established as an autonomous body in 2007 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO).
ESSO- INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focussed research.
3. ORGANISATION OF PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES (OPEC)
News: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is hoping that lockdowns and curfews in some countries in the event of a second or third wave of COVID-19 infections will not dent global energy demand as much as in the second quarter of this year when the world was virtually in lockdown mode.
About Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization of 13 nations.
Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has since 1965 been headquartered in Vienna, Austria, although Austria is not an OPEC member state.
As of September 2018, the 13 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world’s “proven” oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called “Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.
The stated mission of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.”
The organization is also a significant provider of information about the international oil market.
The current OPEC members are the following: Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia (the De facto leader), the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Former OPEC members are Ecuador, Indonesia and Qatar.