Having signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with India-specific safeguards in 2016, New Delhi is likely to sign the other two foundational military agreements with the United States soon.
According to a report in the Times of India, the two countries have made substantial progress in the negotiations on the other two pacts - the Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA).
“The broad contours of COMCASA have been finalized…only some text-based negotiations are left. The BECA draft is also under discussion. We have insisted on India-specific assurances, much like what was done in LEMOA, and a status on par with its closest allies,” the daily quoted a source as saying.
COMCASA, which will give India access to sophisticated communications systems used by the US and its allies, is likely to be signed first. Platforms such as Boeing P-8 Poseidon, procured from the US in the past, are equipped with commercially available communication systems instead of those secured under COMCASA.
India is also likely to hold a tri-service military exercise with the US for the first time. In the past, India has held such an exercise only with Russia once.
This development comes ahead of the first India-US 'two-plus-two' dialogue between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with their American counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Jim Mattis, on 6 July.
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