FOUNDATIONAL DEFENCE PACTS WITH USA:
COMCASA– Communication Compatibility and Security Arrangements.
It is one of the three foundational defence pacts that is required to be signed by a country willing to acquire high tech military hardware from USA. (Other being LEMOA and BECA)
COMCASA is essentially a legal framework that facilitates transfer of encrypted communication system that enhances interoperability between the forces and millitary hardware of two countries.
Simply put, Soldiers or millitary officials operating a weapon system communicate with each other and with their central command through sophisticated encrypted technology(COMSEC) as the conversation and directions have to be confidential owning to security risks. It is essentially in the form of “codes” and “keys”.
COMCASA lays down the terms and conditions for switching to USA based security communication platform to be used with US defence equipments transferred to other countries.
Significance – COMCASA is said to be part of a set of 3 agreements that the U.S. considers vital for a functional military relationship.
Previously, India and U.S. signed the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)”, for mutual logistic assistance between their militaries.
What does signing LEMOA mean?
LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment. India and the U.S. already hold large number of joint exercises during which payments are done each time, which is a long and tedious process.
Under the new agreement, a mechanism will be instituted for book-keeping and payments and officials, who will act as nodal points of contact, will be designated on both sides.
What areas does the agreement cover?
The agreement will primarily cover four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
Any other requirement has to be agreed upon by both sides on a case-by-case basis.
Will this mean stationing of U.S. troops in India?
No, this is not a basing agreement. There will be no basing of the U.S. troops or assets on Indian soil. This is purely a logistical agreement. India can access the string of U.S. facilities across the globe for logistical support and the U.S., which operates in a big way in Asia-Pacific, will benefit from Indian facilities.
Negotiations on the third agreement, “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)”, have not yet begun.
BECA makes sure all kinds of information whether intelligence reports or satellite data inputs regarding the landscape of the battle field or any forms of information gathering methods are shared uncondititionally between the 2 military forces.