CISMOA Current Affairs - 2019
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Team of specialists from US held meeting with their counterparts on Indian side in New Delhi to negotiate text of Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), a foundational military communications agreement. The meeting was held as part of preparations for 2+2 dialogue between foreign and defence ministers of India and US scheduled to be held in Washington in July 2018.
This meeting has resumed talks on COMCASA and it will try to address India’s observations on it. India was not keen on signing two other foundational agreements — COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) after it had signed military logistics agreement with US in 2016.
Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
COMCASA is one of three foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation in defence sector with other countries. It was earlier called Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) before name was changed to reflect its India-specific nature. Other two agreements are Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and BECA.
COMCASA is meant to facilitate use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India by US to fully exploit their potential. It essentially provides legal framework for transfer of communication security equipment from US to India that will facilitate interoperability between armed forces of both countries and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links.
Interoperability in this case means that there will be access to encrypted and secret technologies or communications. India is currently dependent on commercially available and less secure communication systems on high-end US defence platforms like C-130Js and P8I maritime surveillance aircraft.
Officials from Defence ministry have held reservations about signing COMCASA as they fear US’s intrusive access to Indian military communication systems. They also fear that indigenous Indian military and large quantity of Russian-origin platforms may not be compatible with COMCASA.
India and the United States have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that will enable both countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of defence supplies.
The agreement was signed after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met his US counterpart, Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Washington, D.C.
The logistics agreement signed was based on the memorandum in principle reached between two leaders in April 2016.
What is LEMOA?
- LEMOA is another name for Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), an agreement that US has signed with many of its allies.
- It allows defence forces countries to avail defence logistics support facilities such as fuel, spare parts, mechanics, etc. during joint training, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and port calls.
- Besides, it also lays out the procedure for billing for these facilities as part of a larger accounting transaction and details are contained in clarifying protocols annexed to LEMOA.
- LEMOA is facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services (LSSS).
- LSSS include food, billeting, water, medical services, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services and port services.
- Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint training, joint exercises, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
- Provision of LSSS from one Party to the other would be in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services.
- Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts will only be provided on a case-by-case basis through prior mutual consent of both countries
- LEMOA does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.
- It will significantly help to enhance the operational capacity of the Indian Armed Forces, including in their response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.
LEMOA is one of the three foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation in defence sector with other countries. Other two are Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
What is CISMOA?
- CISMOA will allow the US to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems.
- Thus, it will allow to secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides.
- CISMOA will also extend this capability to Indian and US military assets, including aircraft and ships.
- So far US has blocked sale of some of its advanced technologies and sensitive equipments to India on account of non-signing this agreement.
What is BECA?
BECA would facilitate exchange of geospatial information between India and US for both military and civilian use.