[TH Page10] Russia-related sanctions to dominate 2+2 talks When India and U.S. hold their first 2+2 Dialogue involving the External Affairs and Defence Ministers and their counterparts, one of the key issues would be questions regarding the recent Russia-related sanctions that have now come up as a key impediment for India's defence modernisation. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sithara man will visit the U.S. for the first meeting of the 2+2 Dialogue on July 6 with Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis O The new dialogue format was agreed upon by the two sides during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington D.C. in June 2017 [IE Explained] COMCASA: Why US, India can't connect Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement. What is the COMCASA? COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate "interoperability" between their forces and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links. The general agreement signed by the US is called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) but the name was changed to COMCASA to reflect its India- specific nature It is part of a set of three military agreements that the US considers "foundational" for a functional military relationship
In August 2016, India had signed the Logistics ExchangeINDIA-US DEALS Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), which allows the military of each country to replenish from the other's bases Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) SIGNEDIN AUGUST 2016 Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) BEING NEGOTIATED Negotiations on the third agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), have not yet begun. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreementfor Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) TO BENEGOTIATED
The American push DUS officials contend that COMCASA will facilitate the use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India, and fully exploit their potential. DIndia's armed forces, they argue, are currently dependent on less secure, commercially available communication systems on high-end American platforms like C-130Js and the P8l maritime surveillance aircraft. These platforms are, therefore, unable to share data in real time with other friendly militaries using American platforms, besides creating problems of interoperability during training exercises and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. OThe signing of COMCASA, however, becomes imperative if India is to get the armed version of the Sea Guardian drones from the US. New Delhi has been intimated by the American officials that the high-end drones are critically dependent on a highly secure data and communication system link. The US granted India the status of Major Defence Partner in the final days of the Obama administration to facilitate transfer of high-end defence technology. Signing the foundational agreements would underline that status, beside making the transfer of American defence technology possible to India.
India's concerns New Delhi is believed to be concerned about intrusive American access to Indian military communication systems, and about the violation of Indian sovereignty due to visits by US inspectors to Indian bases to inspect the COMCASA-safeguarded equipment There is also a fear that a lot of Russian-origin and indigenous lndian military platforms may not be compatible with COMCASA. Olt is also a politically sensitive issue in India. The signing of LEMOA had earned a lot of criticism for the BJP government from the opposition parties. Moving into an election year, with India-US relations on a somewhat less strong footing, the government may be hesitant to sign the agreement now.
India - US Logistics Support Agreement LEMOA 30 Aug 2016] India and US signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement LEMOA'. Dlt will give the militaries of US and India access to each other's facilities for supplies and repairs. Jlt is an enabling agreement. Dlt does not make logistical support automatic or obligatory for OThe agreement does not involve allowing military bases either. JThe services or supplies accessed will be on a reimbursable either party. Each case will require individual clearance. basis.
Does this put India and the U.S. on the path to becoming military allies? O No, it does not make India either a de jure or a de facto ally OLEMOA only allows both countries to seamlessly pay for military goods, services, and supplies consumed during their exercises and other interactions The decision to engage in any of these activities remains a sovereign decision of each government- nothing in the LEMOA changes that. So the issue of India becoming an ally of any sort does not arise. Significance of LEMOA for India: The agreement puts an automatic approvals process in place for the two militaries to share each other's bases for various operations. These include port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts; other uses are to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. The agreement will aid the sort of operations India has undertaken to rescue stranded Indians in conflict zones OFurther, as the Indian military continues to expand its role to aid in disaster relief, as it did during the 2004 tsunami, it will benefit from easier access to America's network of military bases around the world The pact will enhance the military's capability to be an expeditionary force, at a time when Indian interests are distributed around the world with major investments planned both onshore and offshore in oilfields
Scenarios in which LEMOA will come into play: O The U.S. has LEMOA agreements with over 100 countries but basing agreements O Two examples of the LEMOA's utility: o A U.S. carrier battle group steams from the Persian Gulf to the western Pacific through which are different - with only a fraction of those partners. the Straits of Malacca. Along the way, Indian Navy ships operating off Cochin are authorised by the GOl to conduct a previously unprogrammed passing exercise with the U.S. flotilla. During the exercise, the U.S. vessels offload fuel and supplies from their Indian counterparts. Instead of having to pay in cash for the victuals, India simply maintains a ledger balance for the transactions, which is cleared in one go at the end of the fiscal year. o Similarly, an Indian naval vessel suffers a maintenance problem while visiting the U.S for an exercise. The repairs are done at an American port. The LEMOA will permit the costs of the repairs to be defrayed against any comparable debts the U.S. may owe India for supplies and services received in other circumstances through a simple "balancing of the books" at the end of the fiscal year.
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