- The US State Department has approved the sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment to India.
- The six aircraft will come fitted with encrypted systems, as India has signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US.
- The Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of the aircraft in 2019.
- It is a long-range maritime reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft.
- It is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing company developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet.
- With a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles, the P-8Is detect threats and neutralize them if required, far before they come anywhere near Indian shores.
- Indian Navy became the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft in 2009.
Indo-US Defence Ties:
- This proposed sale will help to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.
- For the US, India continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
- Defense purchases from the United States have been increasingly an integral part of growing ties between the two countries.
- From near zero in 2008, India-US defence trade touched USD 20 billion in 2020, helped along by major policy upgrades.
- The US designating India a Major Defence Partner (in 2016) and then granting it the same access to defence technology as NATO allies and Australia, Japan and South Korea under Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA) in 2018.
- COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links.
- It is one of the four foundational agreements that the US signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology.
- It is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).
- Four Foundational Agreements between the US and its Partners
- General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)
- GSOMIA allows militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them.
- Signed by India in 2002.
Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA):
- LEMOA allows both countries to have access to each other’s designated military facilities for refueling and replenishment.
- Signed by India in 2016.
- Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is the India specific version of CISMOA.
- Signed by India in 2018.
Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
- BECA will allow India and US militaries to share geospatial and satellite data with each other.
- India has signed BECA in 2020.
- Defence Acquisition Council
- The Defence Acquisition Council is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
- The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
- It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).
SOURCE: THE HINDU ,THE ECONOMIC TIMES ,MINT