The second annual 2+2 Ministerial Meeting of the Indian and U.S. foreign and defense ministers produced several landmark agreements in defense and civilian areas. USISPF welcomes the continued energy and vision provided by senior leaders through the 2+2 mechanism.
On the defense side, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) allowing US and Indian firms to share highly sensitive information will drive far more sophisticated collaboration for co-production and co-development. For Indian industry, this kind of partnership with US defense and aerospace firms can become a key driver of India’s growing defense sector. Several multi-billion dollar procurements in the government of India’s pipeline will potentially benefit from this agreement.
The two sides also took stock of the steps being taken to operationalize the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) agreed to continue work toward the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geo-spatial intelligence sharing. USISPF also welcomes the finalization of Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Standard Operating Procedure. This will harmonize processes for identification, development and execution of projects, speed up decision-making, and establish implementation guidelines for DTTI projects.
The Ministers committed to enhanced cooperation between the Indian Navy and the U.S. Navy Fleets under U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command, and Africa Command and intend to expand similar cooperation between their respective Armies and Air Forces. Plans for placement of Indian Liaison Officers in key US commands including NAVCENT/CENTCOM and Special Operations Command and a US liaison officer in the Information Fusion Centre the Indian Ocean Region are also welcome.
The Ministers continued their joint push for greater action against all terrorist networks, including al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Haqqani Network, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, TTP and D-Company. The Ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate and sustained action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorism against other countries in any manner.
In operational cooperation, the countries agreed to explore establishment of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in India. The two sides also agreed to facilitate the proposed MoA between the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish the framework for providing technical assistance to MoCA in developing, modernizing, operating, and maintaining civil aviation infrastructure in India.
Various other agreements signed included Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Water MOU, Science and Technology (S&T) Agreement, Space Situational Awareness, Young Innovators Internship Program (YIIP), and the creation of an annual Parliamentary Exchange. The list of initiatives also includes judicial cooperation, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, Peacekeeping for Indo-Pacific, and enhancing the scope of the Tiger Triumph Exercise to name a few.
This continuing focus on meaningful strategic and operational cooperation bodes well for India – US ties in 2020.
Read the joint statement from the dialogue here.