Doval will hold discussions with the US officials on the security environment in Asia,
India continues its efforts to deepen the defense cooperation with the US while the scheduled two-plus-two meetings with ministers of the two nations have been postponed due to the exit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
On Monday, India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval left for Washington to go ahead with discussions to tighten the defense cooperation with the US. Doval will meet his US counterpart HR McMaster, secretary of state-designate Micheal Pompeo and CIA director-designate Gina Haspel, reported Hindustan Times.
Though the government hasn’t made any public statement on Doval’s visit to the US, the move shows that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bent on strengthening military level partnership with Washington.
Doval’s visit assumes importance in the wake of recent developments in the US. The first two-plus-two dialogue between foreign and defense ministers of the two countries have been postponed due to the delay in the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as President Donald Trump’s new Secretary of State.
The Hindustan Times reported that Doval will hold discussions with the US officials on the security environment in Asia, especially the recent developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan region, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and China.
Both the countries have made considerable progress in discussions aimed at deepening the security ties. Doval is expected to work as a catalyst for speeding up the procedures in that direction.
India and the US have taken several steps to strengthen the defense partnership in recent years. In 2015, both the countries signed the Defense Framework Agreement that aims to enhance the defense cooperation between both the nations. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in 2016 aims at promoting interoperability between militaries by creating common standards and systems.
The US along with India, Australia, and Japan formed the ‘Quad’ (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) coalition to patrol and exert influence on waterways from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific to the disputed East and South China Seas.
Further discussions will be held on signing the Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). While the COMCASA will help India acquire advanced US defense technology, the BECA will pave way for spatial co-operation between the two nations.