India, US preparing 2+2 Dialogue next month

Focus on defence acquisitions, global and regional security situation

Politics

November 18, 2019

/ By / New Delhi

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The first India-US 2 + 2 Dialogue held last year in New Delhi

Key defence pacts are likely to be inked between US and India during the dialogue in Washington next month. A brief report about the significance of the same.

Taking the Indo-US ties to higher orbit both India and US are likely to sign key defence pacts. These include the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). The ISA aims to shore up defence cooperation while the BECA is focussed on sharing geospatial intelligence. Both these agreements are expected to give a boost to the country’s defence system and counter the Russia-China-Pakistan axis. The second edition of 2+2 Dialogue between India and the US, featuring the foreign and defence ministers of the two sides, is expected to be held in Washington on December 18.

During the first 2+2 meeting held in New Delhi, India was represented by former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and former defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts were Mike Pompeo and James Mattis. During the first round of the talks last year, the two countries signed one of the most critical defence pacts for India in recent times – the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The signing of COMCASA meant India would be provided with access to the advanced US defence systems, including armed drones among the others.

This time around, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh will hold talks with their counterparts Pompeo and Mark Esper. The talks are expected to focus on defence acquisitions, the global and regional security situation, including Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and joint production of military hardware.

Why is Industrial Security Annex significant for India?

This is because India has become a major purchaser of US military equipments during last few years. In sum ISA is an agreement between the US and friendly countries on the protection of classified military information.

It will be consent by the Indian government on the safety and security of technology against transfer and access to third parties. It will spur the transfer of key high-end technology pieces to India that is regulated under the US law.

This will further facilitate and boost the participation of American defence firms in ‘Make in India’ projects via the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) that was established in 2012.

Two major American manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed Martin are eying for multi-billion purchase of 114 fighter aircraft for which the Indian Airforce has already floated a request for proposal.

India is close to inking a INR 175 billion deal with the US for naval helicopters and is buying 24 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters to strengthen the navy’s anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare and surveillance capabilities.

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