After the success of the first round of 2+2 dialogue, India and the US are scheduled to hold its round two on December 18. The two countries are likely to reach an agreement on industrial security, that would give India access to critical defence technology from the US.
Notably, the 2+2 dialogue is a formal talk between the foreign and defence ministers of the US and India to discuss the strategic and security interests of both countries. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, are scheduled to fly to Washington to meet their American counterparts Mark T Esper and Mike Pompeo.
New Delhi hosted the first round of the talks last year where the two countries signed one of the most critical defence pacts for India in recent times - the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). The signing of COMCASA meant India would be provided with access to the advanced US defence systems, including armed drones among the others.
Further, discussions over BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation) is also in the advanced stage, that will enable the sharing of accurate targeting information. As per sources, India and the US are expected to formally sign an agreement on industrial security, also known as the Industrial Security Annex (ISA).
What is Industrial Security Annex?
The Industrial Security Annex (ISA) is an agreement between the US and friendly countries on the protection of classified military information. ISA is important as India has become a major purchaser of US military equipment in recent times.
The ISA will be consent by the Indian government on the safety and security of technology against transfer and access to third parties. It will spur the transfer of key high-end technology pieces to India that are regulated under the US law. Moreover, the pact will further facilitate the participation of American defence firms in 'Make in India' projects via the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) that was established in 2012.
Two major American manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed Martin are eying for multi-billion purchase of 114 fighter aircraft for which the Indian Airforce has already floated an RFP. Lockheed Martin manufactured F-21 and Boeing made F/A-18 Block-III Super Hornet one of the front runners of the deal along with SAAB's Gripen of Sweden and the French Rafale.