Military Ties Between India And The U.S. Are Far Stronger Now

Indian Army and U.S. Army soldiers train together (Photo: Reuters)

The United States Armed Forces and the Indian Armed Forces have forged far closer military ties over the past year as the menace from China looks high over the horizon.

America's military ties, as well as its bilateral trade and investments in India, have reached new heights, said U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster.

"The ties between our countries continue to grow stronger in so many ways," said Juster as he completed his first year of service as America's ambassador to India.

He recounted his remarks shortly after his arrival in January when he said the U.S. and India "are on the path to forming an enduring partnership" in the 21st century. He said the security cooperation between both countries have expanded and deepened.

This heightened military cooperation was highlighted at the inaugural 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue held in New Delhi in September. This landmark meeting saw the signing of a major communications and security agreement known as the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).

COMCASA is the third military agreement signed so far between both countries. It is a variant of the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) designed specifically for India. It enables India and the United States to share secure communication and exchange information on approved equipment during bilateral and multinational training exercises and operations.

COMCASA guarantees India access to advanced U.S. defense technologies and communication networks to help the militaries of the two countries enhance their interoperability.

A fourth agreement, once signed, will bind India firmly to the United States on a military level. This agreement is the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). It allows the exchange of unclassified and controlled unclassified geospatial daata, topographical, nautical, and aeronautical data, data and services between India and the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). BECA is expected to be signed in 2019.

As a matter of course, the U.S. has four "foundational" agreements it signs with its defense partners. Taken as a whole, these four agreements make it easier for the U.S. and its military allies to cooperate in times of military crisis or in a war.

Juster said the levels of bilateral trade and investment have reached new heights. On the non-military level, he cited the U.S. and India as leaders in innovation and technology at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) last month.

The U.S. outreach to India, which is the largest democracy in the world, is the rewarding outcome of more than 20 years of American diplomacy dating back to the Clinton administration. At the heart of this outreach is ensuring conditions for a free and independent Indo-Pacific region that now has to contend with a challenge from China.

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