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.
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 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.
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.
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