Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue: Dates yet to be confirmed, expediting defence deals and signing BECA agreement on agenda

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August 25, 2020 12:53 PM

“For the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the US has requested an in-person meeting in New Delhi rather than a virtual meeting. It is all dependent on the Post-COVID 19 situation. There are several rounds of meetings scheduled ahead of the dialogue during which a decision has to be taken,” the source added.

Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue, S Jaishankar, Rajnath Singh, post covid 19,Indian Navy, Anti Missile Defence, Ladakh, India US defence deals,latest news on Indo-US 2+2 DialogueThe two sides are also expected to talk about the modalities that need to be made to the COMCASA agreement which has already been inked between the two countries. (File photo: IE)

The third round of Indo-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is expected to take place end of October. “The dates and agenda have yet to be finalized. However, we are looking towards the end of October. The two sides are also looking at the possibility of having an in-person meet in India. The previous meeting was held in Washington DC when defence Minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar had travelled there,” sources confirmed to Financial Express Online.

“For the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the US has requested an in-person meeting in New Delhi rather than a virtual meeting. It is all dependent on the Post-COVID 19 situation. There are several rounds of meetings scheduled ahead of the dialogue during which a decision has to be taken,” the source added.

Posting officer at IFC

With the Chinese forays continue growing the US has decided to place a liaison officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) which is located in NCR Gurugram. Due to the global lockdown, the US has yet to post the officer.

Also, for improving interoperability and cooperation between the forces of the two countries, India is considering the US request for posting liaison officers at the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online “An Indian Navy officer will be posted as a liaison officer at the USINDOPACOM and an Indian Army officer at the USSOCOM.

Agenda of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

Besides the growing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, and Chinese growing presence in the IOR, the talks will be centered around Anti-Missile Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Network Centric Warfare.

The two sides are also expected to talk about the modalities that need to be made to the COMCASA agreement which has already been inked between the two countries.

The recent UAE-Israel deal, growing unrest in West Asia, the Indo-Pacific Region, Quad, enhanced military cooperation, including joint development of UAVs, are expected to be included in the talking points between the two sides.

The meeting will be between defence Minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar and their counterparts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper.

Will BECA be inked?

There is no certainty if BECA will be inked during the forthcoming dialogue expected to take place end of October.

During the preliminary meetings ahead of the dialogue the two sides are expected to discuss the operationalising the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), as well address certain concerns related to the pending Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geospatial Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

Both countries have already inked the foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018. And, this agreement has enabled the optimal use of the existing US-origin platforms which are being used by the Indian forces. Also, India can now import the US systems which are related to sensor technologies, communication, and guidance.

Due to COVID-19 lockdown, the inbound visit of the Defense Secretary Mark Esper to India as well as the India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) dialogue which was supposed to take place end of March in Washington DC had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

What more is expected to be on the table for discussions?

A Letter of Acceptance (LoA) from the Trump administration is expected which is for the sale of Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS). Talks between ith the US-based Raytheon Corporation and Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace will take off once the letter is handed over to India.

In view of the growing tensions between India and China, expediting the pending deal for 30 armed UAVs from US-based General Atomics could be discussed.

India-US DTTI

India and the US are in the midst of negotiating — air-launched UAV, which will be a co-development project between the US Air Force Research Labs, the Indian Air Force, Defense Research and Development Organisation, and a Bengaluru based Indian Startup Company.

The next round of India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) group meeting is scheduled on September 14, and the second meeting of the DTTI industrial collaboration forum will be a week before that.

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