Growing Congruence


Reflecting growing congruence in ties, India and the US signed a landmark security pact, decided to set up hotlines between their Defence and Foreign Ministers and deliberated on thorny issues such as India’s purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia and import of crude oil from Iran. In the first edition of the two-plus-two talks, the two sides also discussed cross-border terrorism, India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the contentious H1B visa issue, and ways to deepen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Key strategic issues came up during talks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis here. Recognising their rapidly growing military-to-military ties, the two sides also decided to have a new tri-services exercise as well as further expand scope of jointly developing military platforms and equipment, a joint statement said. The first tri-services -army, navy and air force- exercise will take place next year.
The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil. It has also put restrictions on military purchase from Russia. Talking about Indo-US defence cooperation, officials said the ‘Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement’ (COMCASA) will allow India to receive high-end military communications equipment from the US and will also help get real-time encrypted information from the US. They said the provision of the pact came into effect immediately and it will be valid for next 10 years. The pact was long-pending due to apprehensions in India that some of its provisions may allow the US to keep an eye on the India’s military platforms as they will be connected through the American communication network. During the talks, India has conveyed to the US about its reliance on the Iranian crude oil to meet the country’s energy requirement to which the US side conveyed that both sides will remain engaged on the issue. On procurement of S-400, US told India that it understands the decades-old Indo-Russia defence and military cooperation. India also explained strategic importance of New Delhi’s involvement in the Chabahar port project in sanction-hit Iran to the US, particularly for trade with Afghanistan and the US concurred with the view. The ports in Iran are also coming under US sanctions.
Talking about cooperation in the energy sector, the joint statement said both sides resolved to full implementation of the civil nuclear energy partnership and collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company for the establishment of six nuclear power plants in India.

Share This Story

Comment On This Story


Photo Gallery

BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty