India on Wednesday told the United States that it would assess benefits from further defence agreements which Washington says will give New Delhi the advantage of high technology.
The U.S. insists that India sign the Communications Inter-Operability and Security Memorandum of Understanding (CISMOA) and the Logistic Supplies Agreement (LSA) after agreeing last year to a standardised End User Verification Agreement.
At his meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates here, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said the proposal to conclude umbrella agreements like CISMOA would “need to be assessed from the viewpoint of the benefits which would accrue to India.”
At a media interaction later, Dr. Gates admitted that the U.S. had so far not spelt out how India would gain by agreeing to these two pacts. These would allow it access to the highest American cryptology information, for instance, provided on the C130J Hercules medium-lift transport aircraft India was buying.
Dr. Gates said he told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday that his department would provide concrete instances of the advantages to India from these pacts that, among other things, promoted geospatial data-sharing.
During the discussions, Mr. Antony conveyed to Dr. Gates India’s concern over denial of export licences for various defence-related requirements of the armed forces.
Referring to the inclusion of some Indian public sector defence undertakings and Defence Research and Development Organisation labs in the U.S. ‘Entity List,” he said such restrictions were anomalous in the backdrop of steady improvement of bilateral defence ties.
Dr, Gates told the Minister that President Barack Obama had initiated a comprehensive reform of export control regulations. This involved facilitating supply of defence technology and equipment to India, Dr. Gates assured.
Mr. Antony suggested that the U.S. expand its defence trade ties to cover transfer of technology and co-production from the present buyer-seller relationship.