–10-year Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement will allow New Delhi to ‘buy advanced American weaponry and to share sensitive military technology’
NEW DELHI: India and the United States (US) on Thursday signed a pact paving the way for closer military and intelligence cooperation between both countries.
According to reports, the 10-year Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) will allow New Delhi to “buy advanced American weaponry and to share sensitive military technology”.
Under the agreement, the US will also “transfer high-tech communications platforms to India”.
The agreement will allow sharing of “encrypted military intelligence”, and is a prerequisite if India wishes to buy advanced US military equipment.
Officials have previously said that the pact would also allow the transfer of equipment such as armed surveillance drones to India from the US.
Comcasa would allow India to procure “specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is”, and “enable greater communications interoperability between the militaries of India and the US”.
The Comcasa, which was signed during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis’ visit to Delhi, had been stalled for years due to India’s concerns that it would “open up its communications network to the US military”. However, there are provisions within the agreement to safeguard Indian’s security and national interests, and prevent the disclosure of data acquired through these systems to a third party without India’s consent.
Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a press conference on Thursday with Mattis and Pompeo, had hailed the defence cooperation as “the most significant dimension of our strategic partnership and as a key driver of our overall bilateral relationship”
Both countries also agreed to open up a hotline between their foreign ministers.
The US has signed similar pacts with less than 30 other countries, the report added, citing a senior US defence official.
The US and India had on Thursday held long-delayed “2+2” talks amid a series of divisive issues, including Washington’s demands that India stop buying Iranian oil and a Russian air-defence system.
Pompeo and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met separately before joining top defence officials for talks, and both sides’ defence ministers also met separately before joining the other two leaders for talks.
Sitharaman at the press conference had said: “We have acquired various advanced defence platforms from the US. We are thus partners in building defence capability in the broadest sense of the term,” adding that the two countries were putting in place a framework for closer cooperation between their militaries and defence establishments.
Mattis described the India-US partnership as “one of the most consequential in the region and in the world”.