04:02 GMT +320 September 2018
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    Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj arrives for a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama

    India, US Sign Defense Pact to Share Critical Military Communication Technology

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    In the first 2+2 ministerial dialogue, India and the US have agreed to set up two new hotlines so that the defense ministers and external affairs ministers of the two countries can be in continuous contact with each other.

    India and the US have signed a major defense pact on Thursday after a crucial 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi. 

    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 

    The COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) is supposed to facilitate the transfer of communications security equipment from the US to India and ensure "interoperability" between India and the US in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    "They [the ministers] welcomed the signing of the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced defense systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing US-origin platforms," read a joint statement issued after the dialogue.  

    Pompeo in his address to the media said that both sides had decided to go forward on an "ambitious plan" to "elevate" defense cooperation and in this path the signing of COMCASA is a "major step" in defense collaboration that will allow both countries to work together to protect the Indo-Pacific region. 

    "Defense cooperation has emerged as the most significant dimension of our bilateral relationship," Nirmala Sitharaman said in a press statement. 

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    Both countries have also decided to carry out tri-service joint exercises on the eastern coast of India later this year. The ministers also announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would support closer defense industry cooperation and collaboration.

    "The Ministers committed to start exchanges between the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Indian Navy, underscoring the importance of deepening their maritime cooperation in the western Indian Ocean," the joint statement read.

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    Tags:
    pact, military technology, communications, sharing, military, Indian Foreign Ministry, Indian Defense Ministry, Jim Mattis, Mike Pompeo, Nirmala Sitharaman, Sushma Swaraj, India, United States
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