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Sampath Kumar asked: How does COMCASA benefit USA?

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  • G. Balachandran replies: The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) has an indirect benefit for both the countries in terms of being able to exchange information on a secure basis. Although it is almost an essential requirement for interoperability, one does not envisage India and US being engaged jointly in any military operations against an adversary. The other areas of interoperability such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations really do not require secure communication for operational reasons.

    However, in the context of (i) increasing Chinese naval presence, especially its underwater vessels; (ii) common strategic interest of both India and US to be able to detect and keep track of the presence of potential hostile naval forces; (iii) the ability of India and US to deploy advanced surveillance aircraft, especially PI-8; and (iv) their strong surveillance capabilities on both sides of the Indo-Pacific region, COMCASA will enable India and US to share information obtained through their national resources to correctly assess the potential threats, if any, such Chinese naval vessels may pose to the security of either country.

    Other than information sharing, COMCASA does not confer any additional important benefit to either country.

    For more on the subject, please refer to the following IDSA publication:

    G. Balachandran, “The First India-US 2+2 Dialogue: An Assessment”, Commentary, September 14, 2018.

    Posted on November 08, 2018