India, US sign key defence pact


NEW DELHI: India and the United states on Thursday signed a key military pact, deepening a fast-growing partnership between the two countries. The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) agreement, will allows India to operate on high-end secured communication equipment installed on American platforms acquired by Indian armed forces, such as C-130 J, C-17, P-8I aircraft, and Apache and Chinook helicopters.

The agreement was signed after two top US envoys met with their Indian counterparts. Both sides say the unprecedented “2+2” meeting is proof of how far US-India ties have come in recent years, though the officials must tackle several contentious areas where they don’t see eye to eye.

US-India 2+2 talks: A platform that reviews the entire range of bilateral relationship “We fully support India’s rise as a leading global power,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the start of the summit.

Pompeo was joined by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and their Indian counterparts Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman. Swaraj said India attaches the “highest priority” to its strategic partnership with the US, and sees America as a “partner of choice.”

Ahead of the inaugural 2+2 dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held separate meetings on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis respectively.

Official sources said a number of key bilateral issues were to be discussed during the meetings.

Both Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mattis arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday for the inaugural Indo-U.S. 2+2 talks, which was finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in 2017.

In a special gesture, Ms. Swaraj received Secretary Pompeo at the airport in New Delhi on September 5 while Ms. Sitharaman welcomed Secretary Mattis, reflecting the importance India attaches to their visit.

The focus of the 2+2 talks is to deepen global strategic partnership between the two countries and resolve differences over India’s defence engagement with Russia and crude oil import from Iran.