India, US to hold large military exercises in 2019

India, US to hold large military exercises in 2019

New Delhi: The US and Indian militaries will carry out large-scale joint exercises off India next year, top officials said.

The drills would be a first of sorts -- the two countries' forces have not previously trained simultaneously in the air, on the land and at sea.

Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made the announcement at the end of a summit with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"We have decided to carry out for the first time a tri-services joint exercise with the United States off the eastern coast of India in 2019," Sitharaman said.

The two countries also signed a "Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement", known as COMCASA, that will enable them to exchange sensitive military information quickly and securely.

Mattis and Sitharaman signed the COMCASA agreement at a brief ceremony earlier Friday.