India to Defer Signing Crucial Defense Pact With US During 2+2 Dialogue: Analyst

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It's been widely speculated that India wants to first secures a waiver from CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for the $5 billion S-400 purchase from Russia before going ahead with COMCASA with the US.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The much-awaited defense pact, named Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (COMCASA), is unlikely to be signed during the much anticipated Indo-US ministerial dialogue (2+ 2) scheduled for September 6 in New Delhi.

"We had asked the US team to make some changes in the draft of the COMCASA in June-July this year. The required changes have been made but we have to go through every aspect of the prepared draft. Work is still on," an official familiar with the process told Sputnik.

READ MORE: India Discusses With EU Ways to Bypass US Sanctions, Keep Buying Iranian Oil

There is speculation that India first wants to ensure a waiver from CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for the purchase of the S-400 defense system from Russia before going ahead with COMCASA. The issue is most likely to come up during the upcoming ministerial dialogue involving the Foreign and Defense Secretaries/Ministers of both the countries.

"As it appears now, the S-400 is more critical than COMCASA at the moment. Therefore, COMCASA is unlikely to be signed during 2+2," Nitin A Gokhale, a prominent National Security Analyst in New Delhi tweeted.

The S-400 Triumf anti-air missile system - Sputnik International
India to Convey to US Plans to Go Ahead With Purchase of Russian S-400 - Reports
Nevertheless, it is expected that India and the US would issue a joint statement on the COMCASA for the time being and that the actual agreement would materialize after the signing of a S-400 deal with Russia later this year.

The COMCASA is the customized version of one of the three foundational pacts CISMOA which is supposed to facilitate the transfer of communications security equipment from the US to India and ensure ‘inter-operability' between India and the US in the Asia- Pacific region. 

READ MORE: Russia, India Solving Problems Over Payments for Current Defense Contracts

The US wants India to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), COMCASA and Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) to complete the elevation of India as Major Defence Partner status granted in 2016. 

The US has assured India that after signing the COMCASA, it will become capable of using high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms like C-130 and P8I and fully exploit their potential. 

The views and opinions expressed by the Speakers are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

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