India and US have inked a military deal covering secure military communications which will pave way for purchase of sensitive military hardware from US. The two countries held a 2+2 dialogue, between the US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Both sides were happy with the progress of talks. Mike Pompeo said the agreement to be a major achievement in the bilateral relations. Pompeo stated that the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement is a landmark deal which will increase the defence preparedness of India. Experts have stated that the deal will now also make the transfer of armed surveillance drones to India possible which will lend an obvious advantage to India. There could be complexities involved in the usage of non-US military equipment used by Indian military on its fighter aircrafts.
The two sides did share some thick patches to reach an agreement. The primary concerns were India’s trade with Iran and Russia, both of which face US sanctions. Also, as per the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, Indian defence deals with Russia stand impinged. US Sanctions on Iran stand to prohibit all oil trade with Iran which is vital to the growth and development in India. India is the second largest importer of Iranian oil after China and is thus looking for ways to negate the effect of US sanctions on Iran. This has become one of the top priority of the Modi government which is just a few months away from the General Election next year. Oil imports are essential especially as the oil prices have gone up and the rupee is seen on a downward spiral.
Additionally, as India and Russia are in the final stages of the sale of S-400 missiles, it is seeking a waiver of US sanctions.
The talks also included discussions on Pakistan and economy.