This is a guest blog by Manish.
The first 2+2 dialogue between India and U.S was held in New Delhi recently. It is similar to the India-Japan 2+2 dialogue format between foreign and defence secretaries and ministers of the two countries.
It replaces the earlier India-U.S strategic and commercial dialogue. The dialogue is aimed at enhancing strategic coordination between both the countries and maintaining peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region.
The 2+2 dialogue was marked by greater convergence on strategic and security issues. COMCASA(Communication compatibility and security arrangement) foundational agreement that gives India access to American technologies was signed. It is one of the four foundational agreements which U.S signed to intensify its defence cooperation with a partner nation of which General Security Of Military Information Agreement(GSOMIA) and Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) were signed in 2002 and 2016 respectively. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) is yet to be signed.
The two nations also decided to conduct tri-services joint exercises off the Eastern Coast of India in 2019.
Both the nations reiterated their shared principles for the region and agreed to start exchange between U.S naval forces central command(NAVCENT) and the Indian navy in order to deepen maritime cooperation in the Western Indian ocean.
SIGNING OF COMCASA
Signing of COMCASA will enable India to access advanced technologies from the U.S.It will provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the U.S to India.This would facilitate “INTEROPERABILITY”between the forces- and potentially with other armies that use U.S origin equipment for secured data links.
NEED FOR INDIA-U.S PARTNERSHIP IN PRESENT SITUATION
- To counter the rise of China and its hegemonic tactics as displayed in South China Sea.
- To promote peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
- To expand fair and reciprocal trade between both the nations.
- America’s imposition of import duties has hurt Indian economy.
- American sanctions on Iran,especially on the latter’s oil exports are a cause of inconvenience to India.
- There is no clarity on how Trump would view India’s investment in the Chabahar Port of Iran.
- Any counter moves by Russia,such as seeking out Pakistan as an outlet for its defence items,will not be to India’s benefit.
While India can play a crucial role in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy,the U.S can help India stand up to China’s assertiveness. Both sides must work together towards entry of India in the NSG.
India on its way to become a global power ,will have to follow a zigzag course,balancing between American demands,long term friendship with Russia and its own strategic necessities in the neighbourhood and beyond