2+2 dialogue | What is COMCASA? Key India-US defence deal explained

07 September, 2018, 19:30 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • US tries to seal new defence pact with India

The United States and India are engaged in "very detailed conversations" over Washington's request to completely stop India's oil imports from Iran, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Thursday.

But with trade and strategic ties growing quickly between the USA and India, both countries have been eager to downplay potential diplomatic troubles.

He noted access to Iranian oil imports were vital to India's growth in the coming decades, while the USA is demanding allies cut trade with Tehran.

According to Wang, on anti-terrorism issues, India will continue to ask the USA to create pressure on Pakistan.

The U.S. and India have drawn closer in recent years, anxious about China's rise in Pakistan, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, Reuters reported.

"There are very detailed conversations taking place between the US and India on just the technical issues related to going to zero and those conversations will continue". Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political and foreign-policy interests in deepening U.S. ties are clear.

COMCASA opens the door for real-time strategic cooperation between New Delhi and Washington, especially at a time when both nations are wary of Beijing's growing belligerence in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in the maritime domain.

India and American officials signed an agreement on secure military communications following talks between top officials, which analysts say will open the door for the sale of sensitive U.S. military hardware to New Delhi. "We see that the United States is our partner of choice", Swaraj said in her opening remarks.

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"The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India's designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States and commitment to expand the scope and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defense ties further", the joint statement said. She invited USA companies to become active partners in India's efforts to promote its local defense industry.

Sitharaman at the press conference had said: "We have acquired various advanced defence platforms from the US".

"We fully support India's rise as a leading global power", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the start of the summit.

Experts believe the signing of the COMCASA agreement could also reduce the chances of the United States imposing sanctions on India for looking to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

Pompeo told reporters after the meeting that no resolution had been made on the issue.

A draft agreement put forward by Washington last month committed India to accepting more imports of U.S. in the areas of civilian aircraft and natural gas, taking Indian officials by surprise, the Hindu daily reported on Thursday.

The United States is also pushing countries to halt oil imports from Iran after U.S President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers that was meant to stall Tehran's developing nuclear capabilities.

Mattis and Pompeo were due to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Thursday. Khan said later he was optimistic he could reset the relationship with Washington after the US cut aid payments over Islamabad's alleged failure to combat the country's militants.

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