Can India technically be a part of NATO? Setting a new high in India-US Relations, the US on Monday elevated India’s status of being a trade partner to be equivalent to that of the NATO allies of the US. This move comes as a part of Washington’s efforts to speed up the sale of high tech weapons and defence equipment to India. As for now, such leverage is only enjoyed by the NATO allies of the US.
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As EurAsian Times reported earlier, the defence and non-defence products exported by the US are usually bound by strict regulation and licenses. But India’s elevation in the status of being a trade partner with the US will make their purchase easier and hassle-free.
The US Secretary of Commerce stated at the Indo-Pacific forum that India’s status has been elevated to Strategic Trade Authorization STA-1 which is a highly imperative status under the trade control policies of Washington.
The official further stated that the US acknowledges the strategic security and economic cooperation in India-US ties. After this move, India can easily buy the ultra-modern defence products from the US with a reduced number of compulsory licenses. This move will bolster the defence ties between Washington and New Delhi and will set a new precedence in their bilateral relations.
The US is also desperate to convince India to sign the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement) agreement. This move can also be seen as another move made by the US to woo India into signing this agreement. COMCASA is one of the three agreements that the US has with its closest military allies. This agreement enables the US to install high-end communication equipment on weapons being sold to other nations.
It might be a little strange this elevation is bestowed to India at a time when India has ignored threats from the US and has decided to go ahead with the S-400 deal with Russia. Is the US looking to woo India so as to make India reconsider the procurement of military equipment from Russia?