US clears up myths on defence pacts for India

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: May 14, 2015 00:27 IST

Ahead of defence secretary Ash carter’s coming visit to India the US is keen to address “myths” and “inaccuracies” about a set of defence agreements it has proposed to New Delhi.

Drafts for three of these agreements, which are together referred to as “foundational” sometimes, were turned over to India over past some weeks, following President Barack Obama’s visit.

Despite being labelled “foundational”, a senior defense official said Tuesday, “they are not prerequisites to bilateral defence cooperation... there is nothing foundational about them.” The official insisted there was no pressure on India to sign them, any or all of them, nor was there a timeline on it.

They may come up during Carter’s visit next month — his first since becoming secretary of defence — to formally renew the 10-year Defense Framework Agreement.

The agreements are General Security of Military Information Agreement, Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), Logistics Support Agreement, and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Intelligence.

The first was signed in 2002. Progress on the rest has been slow. The US call these agreements “routine”, which it has signed — some or all of them — with over 100 other countries.

Though the absence of these agreements has had no bearing on ties, India has had to settle for stripped down versions of high-tech defence equipment it has bought. For example, India could have added an advanced terrain mapping software to the C-130Js it has bought if it had signed the CISMOA, the defence official said.

But there are misconceptions about the agreements in India, the official said, which are “distracting”.

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