With the impending visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India, the Kremlin is apprehensive and sought assurances from India that its US-procured weapons would not be used in any manner which could endanger the capabilities of Russian weapons. Russia remains the biggest source of defence equipments for India with nearly 65% of imports.
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COMCASA was signed between India and U.S during the 2+2 meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and the US in New Delhi on 6 September. The COMCASA is an India-specific derivative of the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which the US originally signed with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
The agreement will be facilitating India to obtain critical defence technology from the U.S and ensure interoperability. In addition to this the countries are planning on an NSG Pact -Nuclear Supplier Group, which states that India and U.S are going to be close allies in the post-cold war defence scenario, breaking India’s deemed closeness to the former USSR.
However, India has assured Russia that the agreement with the US is platform specific and only applies to the deals between India and U.S. Similar concern was raised by China months before Doklam stand-off regarding the impact of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). However, the military defended by stating the contract will not hamper the countries “strategic autonomy”
In order to safeguard their own interests, the Russian Government wants the 4 IGA’s to be given the status of commercial contracts thus binding New Delhi to serve their promise. India has also not yet signed the contract for the four frigates because it wants to be certain about the supply of the engines that will power them.
In order to escape such future complications that India should consider entering into contracts in currencies other than U.S Dollar. The modern ghost being restored in and around India’s South Asia is framed by both, that kind of Russian nervousness and the Trump’s shaping of the “Indo-Pacific”, as the Pentagon has re-named the Asia-Pacific region.
A similar fear was expressed by U.S Secretary of State – Mike Pompeo that in the near future a new Indian may pass a sovereign law which may Override COMCASA thus cancelling and amending the agreement.
Due to this US has also said that even if it considers a waiver for a one-time buy of the missile defence system, subsequent purchases of Russian military platforms may not be excluded under the regime that it is framing under its Countering America’s Adversaries through the Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
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