NEW DELHI: Even as India and the US inked helicopters deals worth $3 billion on Tuesday, they also agreed to work towards an early conclusion of the fourth and final bilateral foundational military pact called the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA).

The BECA, which will enable the US to share advanced satellite and topographical data for long-range navigation and missile-targeting with India, will come after India inked the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 and the Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) in 2018. "BECA should be inked by next year," said an official.

India and the US, of course, inked the deals for the 24 MH-60 'Romeo' helicopters for Rs 15,157 crore ($2.12 billion) and the six additional Apache attack choppers for Rs 5,691 crore ($796 million) on Tuesday, taking the total value of lucrative Indian defence deals bagged by Washington to over $21 billion in the last 13 years.

The first six MH-60 'Romeo' multi-mission helicopters will be delivered to India in a year, with the rest 18 thereafter coming over the next four years, to plug the Navy’s critical operational gap in detecting, tracking and destroying enemy submarines. The six AH-64E Apache attack choppers, in turn, will be delivered from 2023 onwards.

“Earlier today, we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters -- the finest in the world. These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side-by-side,” said US President Donald Trump.

With the chopper deals done, the US will aim to seal the other proposed deals in the pipeline worth around $7 billion over the next couple of years. These include six more P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft ($1.8 billion), the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II for the missile shield over Delhi ($1.8 billion), 30 Sea Guardian armed drones (over $2.5 billion) and 13 big MK-45 naval gun systems for warships ($1.02 billion).

“President Trump has assured that he will give the highest consideration to India for procurement, technology and joint collaboration in the defence sector,” said foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.