India and US sign an unprecedented intelligence sharing pact

NEW DELHI - India and the United States (US) sign an unprecedented intelligence cooperation pact between both countries.

The 10-year Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (Comcasa) will allow New Delhi to “buy advanced American weaponry and to share sensitive military technology”.

Under the agreement, the US will also “transfer high-tech communications platforms to India”.

The agreement will allow sharing of “encrypted military intelligence”, and is a prerequisite if India wishes to buy advanced US military equipment.

Officials have previously said that the pact would also allow the transfer of equipment such as armed surveillance drones to India from the US.

Comcasa would allow India to procure “specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is”, and “enable greater communications interoperability between the militaries of India and the US”.

The Comcasa, which was signed during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis’ visit to Delhi, had been stalled for years due to India’s concerns that it would “open up its communications network to the US military”. However, there are provisions within the agreement to safeguard Indian’s security and national interests, and prevent the disclosure of data acquired through these systems to a third party without India’s consent.

Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a press conference on Thursday with Mattis and Pompeo, had hailed the defence cooperation as “the most significant dimension of our strategic partnership and as a key driver of our overall bilateral relationship”

Both countries also agreed to open up a hotline between their foreign ministers.

The US has signed similar pacts with less than 30 other countries, the report added, citing a senior US defence official.