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New Agreement Gives India Access to High-End US Defence Technology

Bilateral Collaboration Continues to Increase

On 6 September, following the first so-called “2+2” talks between US and Indian foreign and defence ministers, the two nations signed a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which provides a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment to India.

There are four fundamental agreements required for a nation to become a major defence partner of the US: the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMoA), both of which India signed in 2002, COMCASA and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), which has yet to be signed.

There had been concerns in New Delhi regarding COMCASA, arguing that access to Indian communications networks is unwise: however, the agreement now fives the Indian armed forces the significant advantages stemming from the ability to install US manufactured high-security communications equipment on platforms procured from the United States, such as the C-130 HERCULES, C-17 GLOBEMASTER and P-8I POSEIDON.

In August the US promoted India to the status of a Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) nation, a distinction it shares with allies such as Australia, Japan and South Korea.

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