India, Australia to adopt classified communications
What’s in news?
- India, Australia to adopt classified communications.
- ‘System allows several countries to talk together’
- Although the Australian Navy is, at present, “hanging off” COMCASA — India’s secure communications agreement with the U.S. — Australia and India are “moving forward” toward a classified-level communications environment, a senior Australian Navy spokesperson said.
- The spokesperson said COMCASA (the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) was a “major step forward”, especially for interactions between navies of two countries that are restricted to the classified environment, for example conversations on counter-terrorism.
- “Now we’ll see India moving to classified communications environment that one would see, for instance, in the Combined Task Force 150, 151 and 152 operations [relating to counter-terrorism, anti-piracy and maritime security], where there’s a bunch of like-minded countries that have a communications system that is operating at the classified level, to be able to allow them to talk together,” the official said.
- At the present juncture, communication in an unclassified environment is part of an age-old tradition of ships meeting on the high seas, the spokesperson added, though even in that space, there has recently been an “evolution of authority to Indian Navy ships’ commanding officers to be able to do passage exercises”.
- Australian officials said that for a basic exchange of pleasantries and identity, and then doing “some things together”, Indian Navy commanding officers no longer must go back to New Delhi to get authority.
- This could even be for conducting an “exercise, in a simple set of manoeuvres, or some gunnery,” an officer said.
- COMCASA stands for Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement and is one of the four foundational agreements that the U.S. signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology.
- COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). It comes into force immediately, and is valid for a period 10 years.
- COMCASA allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is. Currently, these platforms use commercially available communication systems.