Defence Minister A.K. Antony has decided to cut short his visit to United States this week by a day in view of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is expected to bring to table the crucial military proposals gathering dust for years during Antony’s four-day visit to Washington beginning September 25.
But the visit — Antony’s second after taking over as defence minister — may not spring any surprises as India is in no hurry to sign the pacts aimed at safeguarding US military technology and guaranteeing each other logistics support, defence ministry sources said on Monday.
US law lays down that sensitive military technology can be transferred to another country only after signing the CISMOA (Communications, Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement) to protect classified security data.
India has to negotiate and sign the CISMOA if the American platforms it is buying have to come with hi-tech systems used for collecting and disseminating information (known as C4ISR in military parlance).
India concluded a $2.1-billion (around R9,450 crore) contract for eight Boeing-made P8I Poseidon maritime surveillance aircrafts in 2009. It also ordered six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the US at a cost of $1 billion (R4,500 crore) in 2008. It is also looking at buying 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft worth $ 5.8 billion (R26,100 crore).
Such platforms come equipped with cutting-edge C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems, which can be transferred only if the CISMOA deadlock is resolved.
A ministry source said more negotiations were required to resolve areas of differences. Antony’s visit will also see US pitching for the logistics support agreement (LSA).