India-US Two-Plus-Two talks conclude, ink historic COMCASA defence pact

New Delhi: The first of the ‘Two Plus Two’ talks involving the Defence and Foreign Ministers of both India and the United States, were concluded successfully. On this occasion, the ‘Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement’ (COMCASA) was signed between the two countries. With this agreement, India will have easy access to the super-advanced and sensitive defence technologies. At the same time, there were important discussions about terrorism and the freedom of freight movement in the Indo-Pacific region. Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind the Mumbai terror attacks continues to move freely in Pakistan despite the United States announcing a prize on his head. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Indian concerns about this matter were justified.

A hotline will be established between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of India and the United States. Confidence is being expressed that this will expedite the communication between the Defence and Foreign Departments of the two countries and will help increase mutual cooperation. The Indo-US cooperation is becoming strategically important in view of the imbalance created in the region from South Asia to the Pacific Ocean, because of the increasing Chinese military might. This adds to the importance of the Two-Plus-Two discussions and the analysts all over the world have trained their sights on the outcome.

Till date the United States has held the Two-Plus-Two discussions only with Japan and Australia. The decision to start such a discussion with India was taken during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States in 2017. Accordingly, discussions were held in New Delhi, between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the two countries. In the joint press conference held subsequent to the discussions, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, claimed that the discussions were completely satisfactory. Foreign Minister Swaraj clarified that there was a consensus between the two countries that the international laws should be followed and order should be maintained in the Indo-Pacific sector. The Chinese movements in the region have attained concerning proportions and the statement by Swaraj only indicates that India and the United States are in agreement on this subject.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo expressed confidence that this COMCASA agreement will prove historic milestone in the bilateral relations between the United States and India. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman has said that this agreement will augment the Indian defence capabilities. The Defence Minister expressed satisfaction about the fact that the agreement would increase the cooperation and coordination between the defence forces of India and the United States.