Will India Refuse To Sign COMCASA Pact With US During 2+2 Dialogue?

The 2+2 Dialogue between India and the US will play a significant role in easing bilateral tensions. Jim Mattis and Mike Pompeo will be in India to attend the 2+2 Dialogue and there are speculations that the two nations will be signing the COMCASA agreement. However, experts on both sides feel that the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) could be adopted as an in-principle agreement but the signing of the agreement is doubtful.

This 2+2 Dialogue was supposed to be held earlier this year in the US but was postponed by the US for some unknown reasons. An expert on the issue said that work is still in process and some sort of announcement is expected to be made post the session. He explained that lawyers on both sides are looking into the draft and deliberating on it. He also stated that certain adjustments are also being made in the content of the draft.

The contours of the agreement have been agreed upon but last minute deliberations are underway in order to address specific concerns. So, given this, an immediate signing of COMCASA looks very difficult. Several diplomatic sources have confirmed the doubts over the signing of COMCASA as things are not crystal clear yet. The same trajectory was followed when India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding with the US.

At the 2+2 Dialogue which gets underway on September 6, India is also likely to inform the US about its decision to go ahead with the decision of procuring the S-400 missile defence systems from Russia. The US has threatened to impose sanctions on nations which procure any form of military equipment from Russia but India is determined to make the deal.

India would seek waivers from the US for buying military equipment from Russia and might also bat for waivers on imports of the Iranian oil. The US has asked all nations to cease oil imports from Iran by November. Iran is a significant exporter of oil on which India’s oil needs largely depends. Iran is among the top 3 exporters of oil to India.

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