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COMCASA- Communications Compatibility & Security Agreement

  • Category
    World Affairs
  • Published
    20th Sep, 2018

India and the U.S. signed COMCASA agreement on the side lines of the inaugural 2+2 dialogue.

Context

India and the U.S. signed COMCASA agreement on the side lines of the inaugural 2+2 dialogue.

About

  • It gives a legal framework for the transfer of highly sensitive communication security equipment from the US to India that would streamline and facilitate interoperability between their armed forces.
  • It is one of the four foundation agreements that the U.S. signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology.

Others are-

  • General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)-signed in 2002.
  • Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)-signed in 2016, fully operational now.
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)-yet to be finalized.
  • In the past, talks at this front were stalled as India was wary of opening up its communication space to the U.S., fearing it could potentially compromise encrypted Indian communications by enabling the US military to listen into Indian systems.
  • As a preparation for finalization, U.S has earlier elevated India’s status as a trading partner to the level of its NATO allies.
  • COMCASA comes into force immediately and is valid for a period of 10 years.

Significance

  • Defence transfers: India will get access to Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIX) which is the secure communication system network of the US. India has used it on multiple occasions since 2008, particularly during Malabar exercises.
  • Countering China: It will help track China’s movement in the Indian Ocean better.
  • Addressing skeptics: Specific additional provisions have been incorporated in the text to safeguard India’s security and national interests.
    a. Data acquired through such systems cannot be disclosed or transferred to any person or entity without India’s consent.
  • Strategic importance: With deepening political and security ties through it, COMCASA pushes Indo-US relations on upward trajectory.

Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

  • It is a foundational agreement of mutual logistic support between India and the U.S.
  • In its finalized form, it is tweaked version of Logistic Support Agreement which the U.S has with several countries it has close military ties.
  • The pact gives access to both countries to destinated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refueling and replenishment.
  • It covers four areas- port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

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