Context: After signing all the four foundational agreements to take forward strategic partnership, India and the U.S. are now working to finalise an “air information sharing agreement”.
- The two countries are exploring opportunities under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) for co-development and co-production of high tech weapons.
- The pact is expected to facilitate sharing of information between the Indian and the US forces apart from cooperation in specific areas.
- Further the two countries announced an initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET).
- In addition, the U.S. is considering an application from engine manufacturer General Electric to jointly produce the GE-414 jet engines in India to power the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk2 and the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
India has now signed all four foundational agreements with the U.S.
The logistics agreement in 2016, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018 and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) in 2020. While the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago, an extension to it, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed in 2019.
BECA Finalising the agreement helped India get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence that will enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones. Through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting. This was key to Air Force-to-Air Force cooperation between India and the US. In simpler terms just as your radio cab (or the GPS in your smartphone) helps you zero in on the path to your destination and helps you reach it quickly and efficiently, BECA will provide Indian military systems with a high-quality GPS to navigate missiles with real-time intelligence to precisely target the adversary.
LEMOA (first agreement to be signed in 2016) allows the militaries of the US and India to replenish from each other’s bases, and access supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can then be reimbursed. It is extremely useful for India-US Navy-to-Navy cooperation, since the two countries are cooperating closely in the Indo-Pacific. In simple terms, it is like being able to stop at a friend’s garage or workshop to refuel your car or get it repaired when you are far away from your own home or workshop.
COMCASA (signed in September 2018, after the first 2+2 dialogue) it allows the US to provide India with its encrypted communications equipment and systems so that Indian and US military commanders, and the aircraft and ships of the two countries, can communicate through secure networks during times of both peace and war. In simpler terms it’s like being able to exchange messages or communicate with a friend on WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram in real time and in a secure manner.
GSOMIA (signed in 2002) allows the militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them but the information was exchanged between the Government authorities of the two countries but not between private partiesIndustrial Security Annex (ISA) (signed at 2+2 dialogue in 2019) The Industrial Security Annex (ISA) to the India-U.S. General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) will provide a framework for exchange and protection of classified military information between the U.S. and Indian defence industries.
It will enable greater industry-to-industry collaboration for co-production and co-development in the defence sector, in line with the Indian objective of promoting Make in India in the defence sector.