- Recently, India-U.S. held their 2+2 Inter-Sessional or mini 2+2 meeting to review outcomes of maiden 2+2 Ministerial meet, held in September 2018.
- They also reviewed the progress on finalising two key agreements:
- Industrial Security Annex (ISA) :
- the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA):
About Industrial Security Annex (ISA):
- The ISA allows sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian private sector, which is so far limited to the Indian government and the defence public sector undertakings.
About Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA):
- This agreement would facilitate exchange of geospatial information between India and United States for both military and civilian use.
2+2 Dialogue: A backgrounder
- The 2+2 Dialogue was held between India and US in September 2018.
- It replaced the earlier India- US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
- The dialogue is aimed at enhancing strategic coordination between both countries and maintaining peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region.
- It puts strategic, defence and security relationship between two countries at forefront and centre stage.
- Important Decisions:
- COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Arrangement) foundational agreement that gives India access to encrypted American technologies was signed.
- Setting up of a hotline between External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister with their American counterparts.
- The two nations also decided to conduct a tri-services joint exercise off the eastern coast of India in 2019.
- They also committed to start exchanges between US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and Indian Navy.
- To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent was signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX).
- Both countries also announced their readiness to begin negotiations on Industrial Security Annex (ISA).
Foundational Defence pacts :
- LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Arrangement) and BECA, or Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation, are the three foundational defence pacts that a country needs to sign to obtain cutting-edge weapons and communications systems from the US.
- Among these, India has already signed the LEMOA and COMCASA with the US.
- India hopes to move ahead on BECA too in near future.
Why Inter-sessional meeting?
- The inter-sessional meeting was set up to follow up on the decisions taken during the India-U.S. Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue, and to make continued progress on bilateral cooperation on cross-cutting defence and foreign policy issues of interest to both sides.
Significance of Indo-US Partnership:
- While India can play a crucial role in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy, the US can help India stand up to China’s assertiveness.
- For promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Expanding fair and reciprocal trade would contribute to the prosperity of both nations.
- In the present geopolitical situation, India and US can be the two pillars of a rules-based world order.