The India-U.S. defence partnership
Context: US and India held the third annual 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi.
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- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement was concluded.
- It facilitates closer military cooperation and interoperability between India & US.
Developments in India- US relations
- The US-India defence relationship was elevated to a “Major Defence Partnership” in 2016.
- Following this, the scope and complexity of exercises have increased through mutual logistics support, establishing secure communications between armed forces, closer collaboration on shared security interests, particularly in the maritime domain.
- For example, India-US combined naval transit of the Indian Ocean, first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, the announcement of the vision for a Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership
How the need for strong partnerships emerged?
- The US 2018 National Defense Strategy identified, the re-emergence of long-term, strategic competition as the central challenge to prosperity and security.
- It called for expanding alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Similarly, India’s Act East Policy was in line with the above objective, it calls for greater Indian involvement in promoting “SAGAR” (the Security and Growth of All in the Region) and regional stability.
- SAGAR policy has helped India to deepen bilateral defence relations with Southeast Asian countries, while preserving ASEAN centrality.
- Both India & US have a common vision to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on a shared commitment to a rules-based order that respects the sovereignty of all countries and ensures freedom of navigation and overflight.
- India has also strengthened its ties to like-minded countries, such as the United States, Japan, Australia and France.
- For example, conclusion of the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements with both Japan and Australia, facilitating shared logistics between militaries, recent invitation to Australia to join the Malabar exercise.
What are the Opportunities for further growth in the defence partnership?
- Need to Expand dialogue on emerging threats in the cyber and space domains.
- Need for a broader collaboration between our defence industries.
Deepening defence ties through the sale of high-end systems such as unmanned aerial vehicle, fighter aircraft, and air and