India and the US just signed a landmark military-intelligence sharing agreement
- During the 2+2 talks on September 6th,
Indiasigned the the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement ( COMCASA), which facilitates the sharing of military intelligence.
- Under the agreement, India will be given access to a host of US military technologies like advanced drones and communication platforms.
- The COMCASA, which is valid for 10 years, is the second of three “foundational agreements” for military purposes that India has signed with the US.
While a lot of ground was covered, the primary achievement of the talks was the signing of a landmark military-intelligence sharing agreement that was nearly 10 years in the making.
Under the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), India will be given access to a host of US military technologies like advanced drones and communication platforms. For example, India’s US-sourced maritime patrol aircrafts will be outfitted with technology that enables direct communication with the US military and the sharing of live satellite feeds. India could also have direct linkages with US allies that use similar equipment.
While the COMCASA is a standard bilateral agreement, it was specifically modified to cater to Indian concerns. The US assured India complete access to all equipment it supplied and said it wouldn’t share any sensitive data culled from US-origin military and communication systems in India with any third parties. It also pledged to give India an advance warning of six months in the event that communications had to be severed.
Besides keeping the pressure on Pakistan to curb terrorism, the major impetus behind the ramping up of military cooperation between the two countries seems to be China’s expansionism across Asia. This can be seen in China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as its maneuvers against smaller nations in the South
The COMCASA will be valid for 10 years, after which its renewal will be negotiated. It is the second of three “foundational agreements” that the US signs with its military allies. The first one is the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which allows the signatory access to resources from US military bases and vice versa. India has already signed this. The third one is the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), which facilitates the unconditional sharing of geospatial data. India and US are yet to begin negotiations on this.
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