India, US agree to work closely on defence policy
India and the US on Friday took stock of ongoing cooperation in recent years in defence trade, technology, procurement, industry, R&D and mil-to-mil engagement at a meeting of the Defence Policy Group, an apex official-level mechanism for the defence ministries of the two countries.
The Indian embassy said in a statement that the two sides “underlined the importance of collaboration between the defence industry and start-ups in the two countries and agreed to pursue a policy environment conducive to this”. The delegations were led by Indian Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and US Undersecretary of Defence for Policy John Rood.
Though there was no mention of an agreement that has been long under negotiation and has been flagged for conclusion several times before, the embassy said the two sides “recognised the benefit of the enabling defence agreements concluded by the two sides and appreciated India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner of the US”.
It was referring to the General Security of Military Information Agreement, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, which were signed by the two countries in 2002, 2016 and 2018 respectively.
There were expectations ahead of the DPG meeting that the two sides could finalize and sign the fourth and the final arrangement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation, at the meet. It might be signed at the next meeting of the political leadership of the two countries. The US holds these agreements critical to increasing interoperability between its military with India’s and sharing of information and sensitive technology.